News : Speed Up Fast Broadband Roll-out, Depressed Town Tells Government
Ruatoria, New Zealand, Feb 26, 2016 — The Government's been given a message from one of the country's most depressed areas, Ruatoria, to speed up the roll-out of ultra fast broadband.
Porirua-based call centre Connect Global has just opened a branch office in the small east Coast town, creating what's expected to be about 50 jobs.
Needing to expand, the company saw an opportunity to benefit Ruatoria which has a population of 750, unemployment of around 15 per cent and a median wage of $17,000 a year.
"Instead of getting the people to the jobs, take the jobs to the people," said Serena Fiso, Connect Global owner.
But she and the local community say the lack of fast broadband, not remoteness, is holding the area back from new ventures like this.
"We talk about the fibre going out to the smaller communities so they are connected. We need it," Ms Fiso said.
An Education Ministry adviser, Te Rau Kapenga, also says Ruatoria needs infrastructure.
"We've got the people, we've got the businesses, what we really need is the infrasturcture," he said.
The Government says Ruatoria and other small East Coast towns will be part of the next phase of the UFB roll-out.
Fourteen people are employed at the Ruatoria call centre now and the aim is to expand to 50.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2016