'Third world' internet shocks residents

02:33, Apr 14 2014
Holly Webster
THIRD WORLD: Upper Moutere resident Anton Petre is fed up with slow internet speeds. 

A group of Moutere residents say their internet access is worse than that in some Third World countries.

Anton Petre has lived in Upper Moutere for 10 years and has contacted Minister of Communications and IT Amy Adams as well as Education Minister Steven Joyce about his, and his neighbours', internet woes.

His home is one of 25 in the small settlement along Brooks Heights and Permin Rd near Ruby Bay who are petitioning the Government for improved access to basic broadband.

He said in an area like theirs, basic broadband was a necessity for households. There were some in the area who worked from home and slow internet speeds hindered their work.

The residents urged the minister to "pay urgent attention" to their situation.

They said basic broadband should be part of the infrastructure of any settlement, along with phone lines, water and power.


Petre said the Government had focused on ultra-fast broadband but ignored smaller settlements unable to connect to broadband.

The settlement was reliant on an "ancient" communications cabinet which was overloaded.

Petre said he was lucky to even be on the system as there was a waiting list of houses in the area to get basic broadband who had been told they will have to wait for about three years to have access.

With more people using the internet in the area, speed would decrease and the internet would be so overloaded it would often cut out altogether.

"This is absurd and unacceptable. It does not meet even Third World standards," he said.

The fastest speed in the area was 3.3mbps but would often slump to below 1mbps, or cut out.

They wanted a basic reliable broadband at a minimum of 5mbps. He likened the fast speed internet the Government wanted to roll out, as a super highway, and what he had was "goat tracks".

"The highway is empty but the goat track is chokka."

He used the internet for online shopping, paying bills and other government-related transactions.

He said he struggled downloading any computer updates and would often have to go to the SeniorNet office in Motueka to download anything he needed.

"I couldn't even get on to the Consumer website to see how the broadband speed was."

It was an "irritating" situation.

Filmographer Aki Yoda runs a television production company from his home in the area. He is reliant on the internet to send videos to clients in Japan.

"I feel frustrated with the internet, I need to send footage for sports news and they need it as soon as possible; it depends on the duration of the footage but sometimes it takes 24 hours to send."

He said he would often have to go to areas which had better internet speeds to do his work, such as travelling to the airport or Nelson public library.

Residents have received a letter from the office of Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce saying the petition had been passed on.