Rural New Zealand is fast approaching a milestone where almost every farmhouse and rural residence can access city grade broadband at city prices.
That’s the view of WISPA.NZ – the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association – following today’s government announcement of significant additional broadband funding.
“That’s an extraordinary achievement for a country with our geography and challenging rural landscape,” says WISPA.NZ spokesman Ernie Newman. “Today’s announcement of another significant government investment in WISPs is a further step to close the gap.
“Fifteen years ago New Zealand’s telecommunications industry was the least competitive in the developed world alongside Mexico. Today its one of the most competitive. Our broadband coverage especially is way better than Australia’s.
“WISPs, or Wireless Internet Service Providers, have been a key part of the solution. About 30 of them supply broadband services over digital mobile radio, bouncing Internet signals from one hilltop to the next using thousands of radio sites around rural New Zealand. They are regional companies, mostly owner operated, with a strong commitment to customer service which sets them apart from the mainstream urban telcos. They represent private innovation and entrepreneurship at its best.
“WISPs are very skilled at fast deployment. Since they first became part of the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative last year they have built many hundreds of new wireless sites in some of the most isolated parts of the country – vastly faster than the mainstream national phone companies.
“WISPs are looking forward to the challenge of completing the job for the benefit of rural communities economically, socially and educationally. “