Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Government to continue $50m rural broadband levy

Mr Key has a Twitter account but has admitted he got his staff to tweet for him. Photo / NZ Herald
Mr Key has a Twitter account but has admitted he got his staff to tweet for him. Photo / NZ Herald

The Government will continue to charge a $50 million annual telecommunications levy for another three years to pay to extend the rural broadband initiative and get wider mobile coverage in some areas.

Prime Minister John Key and Minister Amy Adams announced the measure in Greymouth today.

It included a $100 million contestable fund for remote rural communities to get broadband, and a $50 million fund for mobile coverage in 'black spots' on state highways and in areas frequented by tourists.

Mr Key said consumers would see little difference in their bills - the levy is charged to telecommunications companies but is passed on to consumers through their bills. It was due to expire in 2016 but would be extended to 2019.

"Consumers won't notice any change in their bills, they're already paying it. They'll just pay it for a bit longer. It's a relatively small amount on their bill."

He said it was critical for regional growth that telecommunications were strong, and getting rid of mobile blackspots was important for safety reasons as well.

It brings the total funding on the Rural Broadband Initiative from $300 million to $450 million.

- NZ Herald

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