Couple told they must wait a year for broadband

By kelli.hooks@age.co.nz, Kelli Hooks

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Carterton residents Damien Pivac and Ngahina Gillies face a wait of over a year before they can get broadband service at home.

The couple moved to their Norfolk Rd home six months ago and were frustrated at not being able to be connected.

They say the issue is not their rural location, just 10 minutes out of Masterton, but rather a wait on Chorus to update lines.

"Everyone around us has broadband, so it's not a problem of being so rural.

"I've been told Chorus hasn't updated the line or doesn't have enough ports," Mr Pivac said.

Mr Pivac has spoken to providers Telecom and Vodafone, who have told the couple the same thing.

"We have been told internet would be a possibility in 2014 but that is not set in stone or confirmed."

The previous home owners had broadband but disconnected when they left, meaning the couple had to go on a waiting list along with 18 others in the area.

"The wait list to be connected is 480 days," Mr Pivac said.

"And that's basically because they figure people will move from this road, not because they are going to update them," he said.

Mr Pivac, a lecturer in Wellington said he and his partner, a dentist, both needed to use the internet for work. "It gets expensive because we just use 3G or our phones as modems, which costs a lot. We can't really work from home and it's frustrating when everyone else around us has connections and there's still years to wait," he said.

He has written to MPs and local mayor Ron Mark to express his disappointment.

National MP John Hayes replied, saying he had written to the person in charge of the rural broadband rollout and they anticipated fixing the problem in 2013/14.

Chorus head of communications and brand Melanie Marshall said: "The broadband cabinet that serves that neighbourhood is full, as the resident has been informed." Ms Marshall said Norfolk Rd was in an area of the network being upgraded under the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), of which Chorus is a key partner.

"When we upgrade the cabinet it will have more capacity and will offer faster speeds than they get today. We are currently rolling out RBI throughout the country, and already making a difference in many rural areas, but unfortunately for people like the residents of Norfolk Rd we cannot be at all places at once."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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