New Zealand’s telecoms providers are being asked for their input on the best way to deliver significant improvements in communications services for the Chatham Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean about 680km south-east of New Zealand. Chatham consists of about ten islands within a 40km radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island. The territory has officially been part of New Zealand since 1842, and includes the country’s easternmost point, the Forty-Fours.
As part of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), the government approved a grant to the Chatham Islands Council to help secure better broadband connections for its three schools, Kaingaroa, Pitt Island and Te One. Communications and information technology minister Amy Adams and Chatham Islands mayor Alfred Preece today released details about the next stage of the process, with Adams commenting: ‘Given the unique challenges Chatham Islanders face as a result of their location, the government has also agreed that telecommunication solutions that benefit the wider community should be explored at the same time. The government and the council are now open to ‘innovative solutions that are available in the market to help students, businesses and medical providers access improved technology’. The request for information will be followed by a formal tender process designed to ensure that Chatham Islands residents can access modern communications technology.