Cellphone tower for Himatangi
Calls for urgent work on a cellphone tower for Himatangi Beach have been heeded by the government.
Himatangi Beach resident Richard Bowen, who with Community Trust chairman Brian Rosvall had driven the push for cellphone coverage by this summer, said they had received a "positive response" in a letter from Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams.
Although it was unlikely to happen by this summer, Vodafone had indicated it would do what it could to fast-track it.
"So I think this means we've won," he said. "There is a chance it may happen quite quickly."
The Manawatu District Council would now work with Rural Broadband Initiative parties, including the Manawatu District Council and Vodafone, to iron out the details for a site currently under negotiation.
Vodafone Community Relations Manager Caitlin Metz said there was no easy way to "fast-track" the site. The timeframe would depend on processes such as resource consents going smoothly.
"We have been working hard even without the proposal put forward [by the Himatangi beach community]. We are very keen and passionate about bringing coverage to the area but we do have a process to get through," she said.
A spokesperson from the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry said the Government was aware of the safety concerns expressed by the Himatangi community about the lack of cellphone reception available to emergency services working in the area.
The ministry confirmed a cellphone tower was planned for instalment in the beach town sometime between July 2014 and June 2015.
“We have been informed by Vodafone that it is trying to get the cell tower in place as soon as practical,” the spokesperson said.
The Ministry was working with suppliers Chorus and Vodafone to achieve that goal within the next two to three years.
The Government's $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative programme included upgrading 387 cellphone towers and building 154 new ones nationwide.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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