Increased connectivity in Milford Sound Piopiotahi
Work has started on the new fibre connection for Milford Sound Piopiotahi. Chorus has begun laying the 120 kilometres of fibre, with funding coming from the Provincial Growth Fund as part of the government’s plan to upgrade communication services and expand ultra-fast broadband connectivity.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the aim of the project was to create resilience in case of network damage.
The fibre will run from Te Anau, along the Milford Road and into Milford Sound Piopiotahi.
“The upgraded capacity and resilience these new fibre links will provide are a further example of the government’s ongoing commitment to improving critical telecommunications infrastructure nationwide, as well as specifically boosting investment in the regions,” Mr Jones said.
This is something that both business operators and locals have been seeking for years.
Sarah Greaney, Fiordland Community Board chairperson, said the fibre installation would make Te Anau and the surrounding area more attractive to businesses and for remote working opportunities.
“There are always more businesses looking at online propositions,” she said.
Chorus is coordinating the installation with Milford Road Alliance as repairs to the Milford Road are still ongoing. This follows the February flooding which saw extensive damage to State Highway 94 from Lake Gunn to the Homer Tunnel.
“The region’s recent flooding, road and track closures highlight the fragility of the infrastructure in Milford Sound and the need for increased resilience” Mr Jones said.
The fibre will provide a connection to the cellphone towers that are being built in Milford Sound Piopiotahi under phase two of the Rural Broadband Initiative. According to the government, the Rural Broadband Initiative aims to provide connectivity to cellphone towers that cover cellphone black spots in rural areas and key tourism destinations.
The Milford Sound connectivity project is due for completion by the end of 2022.