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Affordable broadband debuts in the Chatham Islands

05 Nov 2012

Internet service provider Wireless Nation has announced the launch of their wireless broadband service in the Chatham Islands.

Currently covering 25% of dwellings and businesses on the remote islands, the network lies 680km east of Christchurch, covering a population of 650.

Previously residents’ only options for internet access were slow dial-up connections or a private satellite service that comes with installation and setup costs in the thousands of dollars – putting it out of reach for the majority of islanders.

“It is the ethos of our company to deliver high speed broadband solutions anywhere in New Zealand,” says Tom Linn, Technical Director and Founder of Wireless Nation.

“For our urban customers that might mean fibre over cable, fibre over wireless, ADSL, or a ‘hotspot’ connection at a local café.  If rural customers are out of range, we offer economical, high speed satellite service via iPstar Thaicom.

"With the launch of this network in the Chatham Islands, we are thrilled to bring choice and competition to one of the most isolated parts of the country.”

Wireless Nation’s modern ‘point-to-multi-point’ network infrastructure on the islands consists of four strategically placed Wireless Access Points and a satellite ‘backhaul’ link to Auckland and represents an investment of at least $50,000.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams and Chatham Islands Mayor Alfred Preece recently announced a grant under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) to help secure better connections and modern communications technology for the islands’ three schools and the wider community.

Wireless Nation responded to a Request for Information (RFI) on improving connectivity in the region and outlined how extending the existing Wireless Nation network to the schools could be easily achieved.

“Enabling remote communities to benefit with broadband access is a good feeling; we’re proud to have supported the Ministry’s efforts in finding innovative technical solutions to ensure the Chatham Islands didn’t get left behind in the RBI roll-out,” Linn says.

“We have employed the latest wireless technology available to deliver affordable and reliable broadband connections despite a very remote location.”

For a $199+GST setup fee and monthly subscriptions starting from $45+GST, customers can access the broadband service.