A Tauranga woman has been told she could be waiting 280 days
for the broadband internet she will use to talk to her
husband who works on an oil rig.
Michelle and Mitch Croxon moved to Whakamarama from New
Plymouth in November.
Mr Croxon still works in New Plymouth so the couple rely on
high-speed internet to keep connected.
But it'll be another nine months at least before the Croxons
are hooked up to broadband - even though they live about 500m
from a state highway.
This week the Government announced a scheme to provide
ultra-fast broadband to rural hospitals, health centres,
schools and libraries. None are in the Western Bay of Plenty.
"I don't begrudge it going to health centres and schools and
that,'' Mrs Croxon said. "But all we have is dial-up and we
have a little T Stick.
"But because of the rolling hills, being on dial-up is faster
than the stick and it takes so long to do anything.''
The couple live 500m from State Highway 2 and Mrs Croxon
couldn't understand why she had experienced so much
difficulty getting a broadband connection.
"That's the whole thing, I could understand if we were in a
very isolated, remote place but we aren't,'' she said. "We
are 15km from Tauranga and with Tauranga being the size it is
and for us, we are not far from the main road, it just seems
Mrs Croxon said if she was lucky, positioned herself in the
centre of her living area, faced north and it was sunny, she
might get one bar of internet connection.
"It is so frustrating.''
Management of rental properties and children's homework were
also being affected.
The couple started as number 14 on a broadband waiting list
and were told it should take no longer than six months to get
connected. After waiting 149 days Mrs Croxon called her
provider Slingshot and was told they had moved up to number
"They said the most anyone had waited was 280 days.''
Mrs Croxon does not blame Slingshot because "I've rung around
and they are all the same''.
Instead, Mrs Croxon said something should be done to ensure
everyone in New Zealand could access broadband before the
Government focused on upgraded existing broadband customers.
Neighbour David Riley said he and his wife had been waiting
since October for broadband - and were still waiting.
"[Yesterday] morning I was told I was 13th on the list of 22
people in the area. In December I was 11th on the list,'' Mr
"It would appear we are going backwards.''
Mr Riley said his wife wanted to move her physio business to
their home but was reluctant until they could access
"To try and be part of the 21st century without this is
pretty difficult,'' Mr Riley said.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology Amy
Adams said the new scheme recognised the importance of rural
"It will dramatically improve broadband services for those
communities, and it means that location does not need to be a
barrier to receiving good, quality health care.
- By Kiri Gillespie of the Bay of Plenty Times