Northpower has confirmed they will be building ultra-fast fibre broadband networks across Kaipara towns as part of the government’s UFB2 initiative.
The announcement was made by the Associate Minister for Economic Development, Nathan Guy and director of Northpower, Richard Booth at the Northern Wairoa Memorial Hall.
Northpower will spend around $30 million on the network build, $15 million of which will be self-funded and the remaining $15 million will be a Crown loan.
The first town to benefit from UFB within Kaipara will be Dargaville west in January 2018 followed by Mangawhai Village in September 2018. It will be another two years before Kaiwaka, Maungaturoto and Ruawai are connected, with Paparoa in 2021.
Mr Guy said it was a very exciting day for Northland and for small communities to get connected across New Zealand and the globe.
“It will be really exciting for those battling with either a dial-up or very slow broadband. This is going to increase the speed and transform these small businesses, which is really important.
“This is going to transform the Northland economy — we know there are huge opportunities in the north and we also know there are some challenges. Digital infrastructure is going to provide a lot of solutions for tourism, agriculture and ultimately work-life balance,” he said.
Kaipara District Council Deputy Mayor Peter Wethey said that those leaving with the ‘drift out of Auckland’ would now be provided with the same broadband quality and service. “I see it as a substantial benefit to this region and I think we are going to the see the benefit in years to come. This is going to put us on a level playing field.”
Director of Northpower Richard Booth said: “People who aren’t in these areas will benefit most from the government’s next investment, which is the rural broadband initiative RBI2.”
However an official announcement will not be made until later in the year.
The initiative will also address blackspots and mobile phone coverage, to further connect the rural areas in Northland.
By the end of 2024, approximately 85 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to fibre.