Important connectivity for residents and businesses delivered to Southland’s west coast

Digital Economy and Communications

Millions of dollars in Government investment has seen connectivity delivered to one of the largest State Highway mobile black spots in the country, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communication Ginny Andersen says. 

“The completion of a new fibre cable between Te Anau and Milford Sound will ensure New Zealand’s connectivity is more resilient and future-proofed, helping to better connect Kiwis to the world,” Ginny Andersen said. 

“In the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, we know how crucial it is to have access to reliable mobile and internet services. The completion of this important telecommunications infrastructure project, with the support of the Government’s $35.4 million Westland connectivity package, is a huge win for regional New Zealand. 

“It’s a further contribution to ensuring our networks are more resilient and future-proofed. The project has seen approximately 118km of fibre laid through some of New Zealand’s toughest terrain between Te Anau and Milford Sound.

“The fibre link is a broadband and mobile service game changer for businesses and households along the fibre route, as well the thousands of visitors who travel between Te Anau and Milford Sound every week.

“We want to make sure that some of our biggest sectors operating in rural New Zealand, such as agriculture and tourism, can benefit from improved, high-speed connectivity.

“This new fibre cable will help attract more businesses and skilled workers, who need fast and reliable internet connection, to the area. It will provide exciting new opportunities for existing businesses in the area. It also makes the area a more viable option for remote workers who are interested in living there.

“The presence of fibre has meant that more than seven mobile towers will be built along the route. These greatly reduce the length of road without mobile coverage which, until recently, was one of the largest State Highway mobile black spots in the country.

“The upgraded capacity and resilience these new fibre links will provide, are a further example of the Government’s ongoing commitment to improve critical telecommunications infrastructure nationwide, as well as specifically boosting investment in rural and regional New Zealand.

“The new fibre link shows the Government is committed to ensuring that more rural homes, businesses and communities can access fast, reliable broadband connectivity regardless of where they live, study, and work.

“Over the last decade, successive governments have committed nearly $2.6 billion into improving connectivity in New Zealand. Alongside the funding that was committed in Budget 2022, the recent Government allocation of the 3.5 GHz radio spectrum for 5G services means that regional and rural New Zealand will continue to benefit from improved connectivity for years to come,” Ginny Andersen said.