Rural New Zealand is being digitally excluded

Today’s Federated Farmers Rural Connectivity Survey shows that rural New Zealand is being digitally excluded, National’s Digital Economy and Communications spokesperson Melissa Lee and Rural Communities spokesperson Nicola Grigg say.

“It is unacceptable that our farmers, the backbone of the Kiwi economy, are unable to embrace new technologies at the farm gate, or use digital tools to grow their businesses, educate their children or live their lives online due to poor connectivity,” says Ms Lee.

“The Labour Government’s plans won’t bring better connectivity to our rural communities for another two years and continuing delays with the rollout of new spectrum and other connectivity solutions are only going to make things worse.”

“There are over 8,000 rural homes and businesses around the country that have yet to receive any improvement to their broadband,” Ms Grigg says.

“The absence of connectivity is forcing our rural communities to either switch to more expensive options, like satellite technology, or continue to suffer with poor and often unusable services.

“For anyone trying to run a business from their rural home, not only is the lack of connectivity frustrating, it also severely impacts a business’s ability to reach and serve new customers.

“The woeful lack of investment from the Government also poses safety risks for those living rurally, with poor coverage often impacting connections to emergency services.”

You can read the results from the Federated Farmers Rural Connectivity Survey here