More NZ regions to get digital hubs under $2m expansion

By Amy Sarcevic
Wednesday, 06 May, 2020

More NZ regions to get digital hubs under $2m expansion

Five new digital hubs totalling NZ$2 million ($1.9 million) are being funded through the Provincial Growth Fund, to help rural New Zealanders stay connected during COVID-19 and beyond.

The NZ$400,000 hubs will offer free Wi-Fi, co-working space and ICT support, and are designed to foster business development and economic growth during the crisis.

They are in addition to eight other rural hubs already committed by the NZ Government, bringing the combined investment up to NZ$5.6 million.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the initiative is warranted given the heightened demand for nationwide connectivity during COVID-19 lockdown and in its economic aftermath.

“Access to the internet is critical for regions’ economies and wellbeing and will be even more so as we seek to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is something many of us take for granted, yet some communities have limited ability to access the internet or the tools to use it for financial reasons or because of their location,” he said.

Complementing this effort, new investment in rural network capacity has also been announced by the NZ Government this week.

The $15 million fund will improve rural broadband capacity by upgrading existing mobile towers and wireless backhaul, and by installing external antennas on buildings.

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