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Super Fast Internet

September 15, 2009

Lizzie Udy says ultra-fast broadband has made a big difference to her and husband Craig's lives

Tararua has been in the press recently, and it has been good coverage. The most recent is this article about the councils and Inspire net broadband programme.

Super fast and a super help By GRANT MILLER – Manawatu Standard

Broadband is opening windows to the world for rural residents.

In the countryside, on a beef farm southwest of Pahiatua, Lizzie Udy is training to be a midwife.

Rural communities need people like her.

“We’ve got only one permanent midwife in the area at the moment,” she says.

Her study is made much easier by super-fast broadband a service usually denied to rural New Zealand.

“A lot of learning is online,” she says.

For Mrs Udy, ultra-fast broadband in her backyard has given her a hassle-free connection with Massey University and opened a window to the world.

“It’s life-changing for me.

“There are a lot of intelligent rural women out there who could benefit from such good internet access,” she says.

City folk may be familiar with the information super-highway, but rural communities have grown used to a service akin to metal roads full of pot holes. Their internet connection is often so hopeless there is little point trying to use it.

Good infrastructure can be critical for communities wanting to provide a reason for people to stay, so lack of internet speed became a quality-of-life issue Tararua District Council decided to address.

The council formed an alliance with four telecommunications providers Inspire Net, Inspired Networks, Digital Nation and FX Networks to link up Tararua’s towns with fibre-optic cabling. The groundbreaking initiative will service the district’s population of nearly 17,800 people for about 30 years.

From next week, Dannevirke businesses will be able to hook into the fibre network, following an upgrade of the town’s main street.

At Mangamaire, fibre was going past the farm gate of Mrs Udy and her husband Craig, so they dug a trench that enabled them to connect.

Mr Udy uses the internet to look at beef schedules and weather forecasts.

“The agricultural sector is a bit behind. A lot of farmers can’t get broadband,” he says.

Mr and Mrs Udy are unsure if the midwifery training would’ve happened without a fast internet connection to their farm. “I would probably have had to go to Massey every day,” Mrs Udy says. “It would have been extremely frustrating.

“Instead, I’m sitting at the kitchen table.”

Her training started in November last year.

“I couldn’t study on dial-up,” she says.

She wouldn’t have been able to access journal articles. The home computer couldn’t handle PDF files.

It was difficult to get photos online. “We could leave it downloading all night.”

Their experience on dial-up was “not nice at all”. They used a website to rent DVDs, but the website expanded, making it practically impossible to use. It was quicker to drive into town. So, like many rural families denied an adequate service, they gave up. They had been told Telecom wouldn’t upgrade the local exchange.

Read the full article here.

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