Primo extends rural access

By ILONA HANNE

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Living rurally shouldn't mean you are disadvantaged when it comes to business, education or even your leisure, say Jason Holton and Kelly Ellis of PrimoWireless.

Jason, who's business card declares him to be the "Head Zoo Keeper" at PrimoWireless, believes rural people should have access to the same high quality internet services as their town counterparts.

"Hunter / Gatherer" Kelly agrees, "townies tend to take faster internet speeds for granted , but when you have people living further out, who have to wait 20 minutes just to send one email, then clearly something needs to change".

And something is changing for many of those rural residents across Taranaki, as PrimoWireless steadily adds to the number of sites they have established across the region.

The latest site is situated in Huinga, with a temporary site already up and running, and the permanent one ready to be installed as soon as weather allows.

"We have people in the area who can connect with us now and enjoy our faster internet speeds," says Jason, adding that it isn't just Huinga residents who will benefit. Each new site established, he says, has a knock-on effect in increasing the overall reach of their network.

"Depending on location, some households in Stratford can access our services, as can people in Douglas, Huiroa, Strathmore, the list is growing, with Toko being next."

Even if you don't think Primo have a site in your area, "still give us a call," says Kelly. "It is by people calling us that we can establish where the need is for sites, and then we can start working with the community to see how we can help."

When someone first calls Primo, they set up a signal test to see if their current service can reach the household, explains Jason. "If it can't, that is when we start looking at the area and working with the community to see if there is enough interest to connect with us". Solutions can be as basic as setting up a communal "hot spot" at a town hall or similar, he says, and if the need for a site is established, "then we look to get ten households signed up. If that happens, then we are prepared to take on the entire cost of setting up the site ourselves."

While Jason says the sites are a big investment, the team at PrimoWireless believes it's worth going the extra mile to help rural people get access to faster internet.

Aside from providing faster internet, another benefit of PrimoWireless is the fact they are affordable Kelly adds. "With a two year contract, there are absolutely no set up charges involved, so cost doesn't become prohibitive when it comes to getting people connected."

Good, reliable internet access is important in today's world says Jason. "from using it for your business, to children doing homework or research online for school, right through to being able to relax and stream a movie, the internet is part of everyday life now, and living rurally should not be a roadblock in that".

As PrimoWireless connect more and more communities, the roadblocks are certainly disappearing, something Jason says gives all the team great satisfaction. "One of the best things about this job is seeing the look on someone's face when they can finally access all the great stuff available through the internet. For some people, it means they no longer have to take a 20 minute drive two or three times a day, just to check their email in order to run their business. We are changing their world with every site we establish."

- Stratford Press

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