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Ruapuke gears for city-speed internet

Ruapuke residents have long wanted better internet, or even the option of getting it – and look set to do so now they’re contributing to the installation of two wireless repeater masts in their remote coastal environment.

While it comes at an all-up cost of $15,000 the new wireless service will be as fast as the fibre-optic business connections in the cities, says Ruapuke local Simon Thomson on whose property one mast will possibly be placed.

It’s “pretty exciting”, Simon told the Chronicle this week, to think technology in the countryside could now catch up to that of the cities. “We’re all chipping in to get it,” he added of the 15 or so households keen to come on board, and many will be able to ditch Telecom altogether when they hook up to Wanna Wifi.

Wanna Wifi is a Waikato-owned mobile internet service provider (ISP) which took off in Raglan back in December 2010, and it will subsidise the Ruapuke installation to the tune of $9000 to make it commercially viable, says managing director Jason Brand. “We try and give something back to people as well.”

Ruapuke residents will raise the rest themselves while also applying to Meridian Community Trust for a grant, says Simon. “Wireless makes sense (here),” he explains, “where it will never be viable to install physical cable over such large distances, let alone keep up with urban delivery speeds.”

Ruapuke residents have long been frustrated at not getting a high-speed internet service, and there have been few options,” says Simon. “Archaic dial-up, fickle cellular or slow response satellite for between $120 and $150 per month have been the only options – until now.”

Edith Symes

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