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Reliable high-speed internet for those in rural areas could be considered a "fundamental human right", Waitaki District Council chief executive Fergus Power says.
His comment came at a meeting of the full council this week when, while presenting his regular report to councillors, Cr Melanie Tavendale quizzed him on what the Waitaki district could do to take advantage of a recently announced broadband funding boost for rural areas.
Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones recently unveiled a plan for investment of up to $15million in rural network capacity, to be funded from its ultra-fast broadband initiative to improve rural broadband capability.
Mr Power said reliable broadband was essential everywhere, not just in urban areas.
"Internationally it’s becoming more and more recognised, and sometimes recognised in statute, that access to high-speed broadband is a fundamental human right."
In 2015, Oamaru became the first town in New Zealand to have its fibre network completed under Chorus’ ultra-fast broadband programme.