Cabling depends on money

Last updated 12:21 26/06/2008

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Tararua District Council is forging ahead with a new plan to extend fibre-optic cabling from Dannevirke to Norsewood - but without government funding, it will not operate.

The council is planning to extend its fibre- optic cabling project by another 24.3km, connecting Dannevirke to Norsewood.

But the project is reliant on government funding, which will not be dished out until August next year.

Last year, the council decided to take on Telecom and pledge $577,000 to lay its own fibre-optic cabling, connecting four towns in the district - Eketahuna, Pahiatua, Woodville, and Dannevirke.

More than 140km of cable was to be laid, connecting the towns to Palmerston North.

Stage one of the project - Eketahuna to Woodville and Pahiatua to Palmerston North - is expected to be operational by July 31.

The $250,000 Woodville- Dannevirke piping has been started.

Council chief executive Roger Twentyman said the link to Norsewood was not originally proposed, as it would cost too much for too little economic gain.

But improved relationships with internet service provider Inspire Net and contractor, FX networks, had brought the underground piping cost down to $275,000.

At a meeting yesterday, the council agreed to extend the network - if money can be secured from the Government.

"If the funding doesn't come up, then it doesn't happen," Mayor Maureen Reynolds said.

Corporate services manager Peter Wimsett said the council desperately needed government support, and the level of this will depend on the outcome of the election.

The council is in touch with both Communications Minister David Cunliffe and members of the National Party to try to push the scheme through, he said.

In the meantime, it is worthwhile to plan ahead in anticipation of funding.

"If we are serious about allowing rural people to connect, that's not going to happen unless there's a conduit in place allowing it to happen," Mr Wimsett said.

"This project has the ability to jump the queue."

A dissenting voice at the meeting was Cr Chris Southgate, who questioned the validity of applying for money to include Norsewood.

 

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- Manawatu Standard

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