Cellphone tower should be finished next month

The construction of a cellphone tower to enhance broadband and mobile coverage in the Maniototo has been delayed until next month.

Naseby Vision chairman John Crawford told the Otago Daily Times the tower was supposed to be in operation in May but ''early snow'' had affected access to the site.

Construction was ''weather dependent'' but he hoped the tower would be completed by the end of August.

''You wouldn't want to hold your breath,'' he said.

Naseby Vision was in contact with Vodafone and received regular updates on the situation.

The group had been lobbying for 10 years to get a tower installed, initially talking to government departments.

The lack of mobile coverage and broadband in the area, particularly Naseby, created concerns over potential civil emergencies and fires, he said.

It was also a ''real impediment'' for business owners in the town who needed broadband to run their business.

''At the moment, people have to go out of town and sit on the side of the road,'' he said.

But it was ''not too far away and that's really good news''.

The group was also working with the Central Otago District Council to try to improve the broadband speed in the town.

He said he understood the new tower would help improve other parts of the Maniototo.

A Vodafone spokesman said work was ''under way'' to provide a new cell tower to Naseby, which would benefit about 450 homes.

''Works have been slowed due to recent bad weather in the region. Weather conditions permitting, we hope to have the site operational towards the end of August.''


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