This is an urgent call to support a bid by Venture Southland for ultra-fast broadband in Te Anau, improvements to rural broadband, and mobile services on blackspots on key roads (see map), to help businesses, organisations, home-workers, our schools, tourists, and the community at large.
Te Anau is competing against communities all over New Zealand for this service, and bids that show significant community support are inevitably far more likely to succeed. We are also a small community competing against larger communities, so every voice counts and is vital. Your support is urgently requested therefore by Venture Southland, by sending emails / letters of support and completing a survey by the end of June 2015. So don't delay, support the bid today!
Read on for how to submit your response and suggestions of things you may wish to say to support this bid.
How to submit
The survey can be completed here.
Things you may wish to emphasise:
Here are some suggestions from teanau.net.nz administrators of things you may wish to reference in your submission:
- Why the internet is so essential to you - for work / home / tourism / education. Remember to include the importance of it to others in your home and workplace, such as children in your home or tourists staying at your accommodation. (The capacity of ultra-fast broadband to cope with multiple users is much greater.)
- The large number of tourists (half a million) staying or driving through Te Anau and expecting a fast and reliable connection to check for things including weather reports and road reports for safety reasons.
- The current slow speed of connections in Te Anau compared with what can be achieved through ultra-fast broadband (which Venture Southland says will be six to 20 times faster).
- Examples of particular things you would like to do online that you struggle to do? For example, meetings and learning via webinars, communication with extended family in other countries, educational projects, access of safety-critical information, etc.
· Negative experiences you or others have had that you can report upon.
- You may also wish to mention the Milford Road and the lack of mobile connections on this road, which is a particularly high-risk road that has suffered fatalities and injuries due to its heavy use by drivers from all over the world who are often not experienced at driving on this narrow, bendy rural road.
More information including guidance from Venture Southland
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is seeking input into where in New Zealand they should invest funds in ultrafast broadband (UFB2), rural broadband (RBI2) and mobile services in black spots on key roads (MBSF). Venture Southland is coordinating a bid on behalf of the Southland region and the three Councils. Venture Southland undertook a survey into mobile and internet services to which over 700 people responded and proposed sites for new services have been selected - including Te Anau! (See map on this page showing proposed sites for ultrafast broadband in pink circles.)
It's important, if submitting a letter / email, to support the bid as it stands, and not ask for anything contrary to the bid's criteria. So there is no point, sadly, in trying to advocate for Ultra Fast Broadband in Manapouri in this bid. But if enough people support it, a cell phone tower may be a reality.
What this could mean for Te Anau
If successful, Te Anau would be one of the big winners - ultra fast broadband (UFB) services for people and businesses living in the urban areas of Te Anau via ground laid fibre with a starting speed of 30Mbps and up to 100Mbps normally (and even up to 1Gbps). This is 6 to 20 times faster than you can have through Rural Broadband Initiative via fixed line now. It will be a huge improvement on the present.
The relatively small population will be the biggest disadvantage for this bid. Venture Southland will emphasise the importance of UFB for (tourism) businesses so this is something to focus in your letters of support. However, isolation is another point e.g. how will UFB help you and your family – e.g. you may have a student in your family that has access to UFB through the college (provided through another, existing Govt initiative) but their education would greatly benefit from having such access also at home.
Proposed: ultra fast broadband
Possible focus for letters of support: tourism, isolation, attraction and retention of residents.
Manapouri and Fiordland
The proposal for Manapouri is for a cell phone tower (this could be Vodafone or Spark depending who may eventually bid) under the Mobile Black Spot Fund. The key message to focus on in your letter of support could be safety – for you, for your clients and employees, and visitors travelling through Manapouri. You may also want to mention how important communications infrastructure is for small towns to attract and retain people to live in the region and to do business in global markets.
For your information, three other mobile sites in Western/Southern Southland are proposed on the main visitor route: on the Milford Road (on the Appearing Shoulder north of Knobs Flat), as well as at Blackmount, and on Stucks Hill in the Longwoods.
Proposed: mobile tower site
Possible focus for letters of support: safety, attraction and retention of residents.
Letters and emails are needed from you, community groups you are member of, businesses which you are part of, which will support our application.
We want the Government to approve funding and they need to understand:
· How it is for those living out there now, what is your current service like?
· Have you had a particular negative experience? How do you deal with others who cannot communicate e.g. visitors?
· How does this affect how you live, run a business/farm, travel through the area etc.
· What would improvements would mean to you?
MBIE require all bids to be submitted by 3 July 2015. Therefore we respectfully request any emails or letters of support be sent to us by the end of June.
Please do forward this request to anyone else you think may be willing to support the application with an email or letter of support.