Isolated spots to get cellphone coverage

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Cape Reinga may soon get cellphone coverage.
Cape Reinga may soon get cellphone coverage.

Isolated Northland tourist spots Cape Reinga and Waipoua Forest are among the iconic New Zealand sites that may get mobile coverage as part of a government proposal.

Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced the Government will spend part of its next $150 million rural broadband initiative expansion on getting coverage to popular highways and tourist sports across the country.

Among the current 200 black spots that have been proposed for coverage are Waipoua Forest - home to the country's largest kauri tree, Tane Mahuta - the entrances to the Milford Track and the Sound, and the nation's northern-most tip, Cape Reinga.

Between them the sites attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, according to International Visitor Survey.

"We also want to improve the reach of mobile services to support safety on State Highways and enhance the visitor experience for tourists," Ms Adams.

The list includes some of the country's most notable highways including Arthurs Pass, Lindis Pass and State Highway 6 at Fox Glacier.

Ms Adams said the fund was open to any telecommunications company or technology capable of getting 3G or 4G coverage to the areas.

Which sites from the longlist would actually end up with coverage would be determined in the bidding process, which is set to go until February, with the first contracts expected to be awarded in June.

- Northern Advocate

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