Communications Minister Amy Adams has given local councils a month to sort out their digital enablement plans.
Adams says local authorities will have four weeks to submit a digital enablement plan outlining how they will take advantage of new investment from the government’s broadband extension.
Councils have been asked to identify projects that will promote the uptake and benefits of the next phase of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) in their communities, Adams says.
“We’ve made excellent strides with the first phase of UFB and RBI, but we want to do even more to extend better broadband and mobile connectivity to as many New Zealanders as possible,” she explains.
“I’m encouraging councils to submit plans with bold vision and pragmatic ideas on how they would maximise the use of broadband in their areas to help create economic growth and engage their community in digital technologies.”
In July this year, local authorities provided information on priority areas and how they would support the roll out of better broadband and mobile services in their communities. A digital plan will show how communities intend to use the increased connectivity.
“We’ve had an outstanding response from councils for the Registrations of Interest stage, with all but four councils putting in responses,” says Adams. “The next step is for councils to submit their digital enablement plan or existing digital strategy.”
Adams says, “This is a chance for councils to make a credible difference to the productive use of telecommunications infrastructure within their area and I want councils to put their best case forward.”
The information received from local authorities will be an important part of deciding the type and location of infrastructure to be deployed in this next phase of the UFB and RBI rollouts.