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The National-led Government has announced Ultra-Fast Broadband will be extended to a further 23 towns and 11 fringe areas in the Waikato region, providing 12,500 households and businesses with access to world-class broadband, Barbara Kuriger says.

The rollout will also be sped up, completing the entire network by 2022.

“This is fantastic news for our Waipa and King Country communities like Benneydale, Kihikihi, Waingaro, Mokau and Te Kowhai. Rolling out world-class broadband is a vital part of the Government’s plan in supporting regional growth and developing a productive and competitive economy,” Kuriger says.

“Fast and reliable internet connects our communities and businesses to each other and the rest of the world. The Government’s total investment in UFB connectivity to the Waikato is $199.3 million.

“This investment is already paying dividends by increasing productivity and competitiveness, improving healthcare and classroom learning, and building a foundation for entrepreneurship and continued innovation,” said Kuriger.

The Government is investing up to $140 million to extend the Rural Broadband Initiative across the country and to provide mobile coverage through the Mobile Black Spot Fund to around 1,000 kilometres of state highways and more than 100 tourist areas.

“This will provide an additional 9,281 households and businesses in the Waikato region with access to high-speed internet,” Kuriger says.

“9 state highways and 10 tourist spots in the Waikato region will receive new mobile coverage, which is hugely significant for tourist hotspots such as Mokau and Marokopa, and in particular the entrance and exits of the popular Timber Trail in the Pureora Forest.

“We want all Kiwis, living in or out of town, to have access to the economic and social benefits of high-speed connectivity.

“Faster broadband enables those households in provincial New Zealand to overcome the distance isolation factor from the main centres and helps them connect with their communities. Increased network performance also allows provincial New Zealand to remain competitive on the international stage,” said Kuriger.

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