Ultra fast broadband for new city

By Imran Ali

An ultra-fast broadband loop to encompass the new Marsden City development is expected to attract new businesses and benefit Ruakaka residents from early next year.

The 26-kilometre project will complement a super highway broadband link between Whangarei and Auckland that was launched early this year.

Datalight managing director Roger MacDonald said the ultra-fast broadband loop would give people of Marsden a competitive edge and would benefit an array of service providers such as schools, health facilities, maraes, businesses and residential areas.

"It's an open access network so other telcos can basically take leverage to deliver the services to whoever wants it," he said.

The project is being spearheaded by the Tai Tokerau Networks, an iwi-owned transmission network owned by partners Te Runanga o Whaingaroa, Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua and Te Runanga o Te Rarawa with Wellington telco, Datalight.

Off the network, MacDonald's company would run both wireless and wired internet connection and he said the project should be completed by March 2013.

Work on the new Marsden city, poised to create 440 jobs and attract businesses from outside Northland, has already started and will comprise of a mixture of commercial and residential development.

It will be spread over 135 hectares within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates.

Tai Tokerau Networks has hired 12 people, previously on the unemployment benefit, and trained them on drilling, digging, installing cables and traffic management as part of the project.

Mr MacDonald said the 12 spent four weeks in a classroom and six weeks on the field.

Datalight is working with Northpower which rolled out the first stage of its Whangarei broadband network in May.

He said telecommunication or IT companies could buy services from Datalight and sell them over the Northpower network.

Homes would be able to access up to 600 gigabyte per second once the loop was completed, he said.

Stage one of the Marsden city development will include 22,000sq m of retail space and 20,000sqm of other commercial activity, 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and a variety of industrial uses.

The development is part of the Whangarei District Council's structure plan which allows for 60,000 sq m of net floor area for retail and 82,000 sq m for non-retail commercial use.

There can be up to 2200 residential units.

- Northern Advocate

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