May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Connecting Maori to the Future (RBI & UFBI)

2 min read

Over the few weeks the NZ Government will be making important decisions about how the people of Aotearoa-New Zealand will connect to the Internet – these decisions are crucial to connecting Maori, so a new website has been set up to help Maori participate in these important decisions.

Like rail of the past, roading of the present, the Internet will be a key infrastructure that will underpin the economic, social and cultural future our tamariki will grow up in. In the past Maori have been on the decision sidelines, with the development of rail and road infrastructure often seeing land taken and communities disrupted with very little consideration of Maori aspirations.

This time Maori have an opportunity to send a clear message to Government of what its expectations are and as a Treaty partner to ensure its stake in such essential infrastructure is protected and advanced.

There are two infrastructure initiatives underway:

  • 1) The Ultra Fast Broadband Initiative (UFBI); and
  • 2) Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

Both are about building fast and accessible broadband, with the UFBI designed for urban communities (coverage approximately 75%) and RBI (remainder 25%). It is important to note that approximately 83% of Maori live in Urban communities, while the remaining 17% reside in rural areas. It is therefore essential to ensure that Maori are guaranteed outcomes for both initiatives.

This website has been set up to provide Maori with the opportunity to consider what the RBI offers Maori and to make sure we can hold accountable both Government and those making the bids on there commitments.

So please add your korero and feedback so you can have a voice in this process.

What is the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI)

The key objectives the Government aims to achieve in rural New Zealand are:

  • Improving coverage of fast broadband services so that 97 percent of New Zealand households and enterprises are able to access broadband services of 5 Mbps or better.
  • Ultra-fast broadband to 97 percent of New Zealand schools (serving 99.7 percent of New Zealand students).

What is the Ultra Fast Broadband In Initiative (UFBI)

The goal of UFBI is to accelerate the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband to 75 percent of New Zealanders, concentrating in the first six years on priority broadband users such as businesses, schools and health services, plus green field developments and certain tranches of residential areas.

Improved connections are essential to connecting whanau, connecting hapu, connecting Maori.

The aim of this site is provide a forum for Maori to understand what is happening, who is involved and to raise questions around the RBI and the UFBI. Though the process is still shrouded in mystery, it is crucial we initiate our own discussions and forum because in the past, Maori have been ignored.

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