Miniature exchanges dotted about in Palmerston North neighbourhoods will provide a $10.5 million boost to the broadband network in the next three years.
Chorus, Telecom's network access business, has switched on the first two of 87 new roadside cabinets in the city - designed to bring faster, reliable broadband closer to more homes.
Cabinets in Fitzherbert Avenue and Cook Street are operating and 11 are due to start in Terrace End and Milson between now and March next year.
Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe said each cabinet is similar to a small telephone exchange.
"Previously, this equipment would have been housed in the local telephone exchange and the whole reason we're bringing it closer to people is because the further you are from the equipment the slower your broadband speed is," Mr Ratcliffe said.
"These cabinets contain sophisticated electronic equipment, so a lot of work has gone into making them much quieter and power-efficient than anything before them," he said.
The initiative is part of a $500 million programme nationwide, involving 3600 cabinets and 2500km of fibre-optic cabling, to be installed by the end of 2011.
In Palmerston North, 79 existing cabinets will be replaced by new cabinets and eight will be put on new sites.
The Manawatu region will get a further 171km of fibre, including 46km in Palmerston North.
Feilding and Levin will also be boosted before April 2011; Ashhurst, Foxton, Marton, Pahiatua and Dannevirke by October 2011; and Linton, Woodville, Foxton Beach and Bulls by the start of 2012.
Telecom has called the national infrastructure upgrade one of its largest ever.
- Manawatu Standard
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