Government turns down Maori spectrum claim

Last updated 13:33 21/02/2013

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The Government has rejected claims from Maori for a share of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of digital dividend radio spectrum that will be freed up by the nationwide closure of analogue television in December.

However, it said it would instead consider establishing a $30 million ICT development fund that would be focused on assisting Maori to "leverage the potential benefits from new technologies, and promote and support the language and culture in a digital world".

Communications Minister Amy Adams said the prized 700MHz radio spectrum, suitable for 4G mobile networks, would be auctioned during the third quarter.

The Government would set a "reserve price" for the spectrum.

Adams said details of how the spectrum would be allocated would be confirmed "in the next few months". 

Maori had put a Waitangi Tribunal claim for the spectrum on ice while it negotiated with the Government, but one claimant recently warned that claim could be reactivated at any time.

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