Govt embarks on $2.48m Chatham Islands broadband plan…

Work to deliver a significant improvement in broadband services for Chatham Islanders will start almost immediately, following the signing of a $2.48 million contract between the Government and TeamTalk.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Chatham Islands Mayor Alfred Preece have revealed that TeamTalk Ltd will provide the improved broadband services for the Chatham Islands.

“The initial focus will be on connecting the three local schools to faster broadband,” Joyce says.

“This infrastructure will also be used as the basis to deliver similar benefits for the wider community.

“The new broadband will be faster, more reliable and cheaper than the existing satellite services, and there will be no set up fee for getting connected to the new service for the first six months.”

The project involves increasing the satellite bandwidth connection for the islands, which are roughly 800 km east of Christchurch. Broadband connections will be provided for Kaingaroa, Pitt Island and Te One schools, the health centre and other government and local authority offices.

In the Waitangi area, the service will use the existing copper network for distribution. Fixed wireless broadband services will be provided via five hill top sites to about 200 residential premises in some of the more remote areas and on Pitt Island.

The contract also provides funding for TeamTalk to add a cellular service in the future, if one of the existing cellular operators decides to partner with TeamTalk.

TeamTalk Ltd was awarded the contract following a Request for Information, a formal tender process, and extensive consultation with telecommunications providers to develop the best approach.

The project is being funded by a grant under the Rural Broadband Initiative, with additional funds contributed by the Ministry of Education and the Chatham Islands Council.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to find a good solution for the Chatham Islands community,” Mayor Alfred Preece adds.

“Having reliable broadband will mean our local students, businesses and medical providers will be able to access the internet, video conferencing and specialist health and education services.

“This will be a huge improvement on the present situation, with broadband at dial-up speeds only available in some areas.”

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