New $60 million infrastructure fund for capacity and backhaul upgrades to boost connectivity$10 million for radio spectrum for rural connectivity
Digital connectivity is more important than ever as New Zealand makes a successful economic recovery from the impacts of
COVID-19, and the Labour Party is committed to investing in world class digital infrastructure to support that, Labour’s
communications spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.
“The COVID pandemic has highlighted the vital role digital connectivity plays across New Zealand, including for our
rural primary producing industries that link to some of New Zealand’s more remote, hard-to-reach places where internet
services can be patchy,” Kris Faafoi said.
“During COVID lockdown we all needed to move online, and it is critical that our rural businesses and households have
access to fast and reliable internet in order to work, learn and socialise,” he said.
Commitments Labour is making through a new $60 million infrastructure fund will help boost connectivity capacity and
upgrade backhaul connections that link a main network to the edges of it. Internet services are provided to customers
from the ‘edges’ of networks.
“This $60 million infrastructure fund is targeted at increasing connectivity in our worst connected regions to deliver
faster, more reliable internet connections.
“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be responsible for leading this work and will identify the
worst affected areas with a focus on Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui, Auckland rural area, Otago, Hawke’s Bay (including
Central Hawke’s Bay), West Coast, Taranaki, rural areas of Wellington, Wairarapa, and Southland.
“This will build on the wider digital programmes we have rolled out in government and expands on the $50 million Crown
Infrastructure Partners funding already announced with a priority focus on Te Tai Tokerau, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, top
of the South Island and Canterbury.
“It’s about targeting regional areas where we need tailored solutions to address lack of connectivity.”
“We know there is no longer a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach and this infrastructure fund will be used to roll out
delivers capacity upgrades
provides backhaul upgrades and replacements (the link between the main network and the edges of the network, which is
where services are provided to customers)
enhances infrastructure in areas of need
“New Zealanders are demanding more and more data and faster speeds to run increasingly sophisticated applications and
this requires higher capacity in our networks. This growing demand is already putting pressure on some areas, where
existing government programmes, such as the first phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative, are no longer meeting
expectations. This funding will help address that and provide a much needed further technological injection for our
regions, which have fallen behind levels of connectivity in our urban areas,” Kris Faafoi said.
Labour will also commit $10 million to open up suitable radio spectrum for rural communities where broadband capacity
and coverage is under pressure.
“Funding suitable spectrum to rural communities which rely on mobile network services, will mean those services can
reach greater coverage,” Kris Faafoi said.
“In this day and age, we need to do everything we can to make sure rural and remote communities in New Zealand are part
of the connected digital world we all live in now,” Kris Faafoi said.