Fiber to the Forest becomes a reality!

Fiber to the Forest has become a reality! We are familiar with terms such as Fiber to the home, to the curb or premise etc., but may be this is the first time we use a term “Fiber to the Forest”.
Thanks to New Zealand Government’s decision to connect the Kaingaroa Forest with ultra fast broadband. Kaingaroa is one of New Zealand’s most remote rural communities in Kaingaroa Forest. It is near Murupara. The connectivity to the ultra broadband network became a reality with New Zealand Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and the support of the 2020 Communications Trust. Kaingaroa Forest, which is in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest forest. Kaingaroa is the largest plantation in the southern hemisphere. The forest covers 2900 km² in the inland East Cape and Bay of Plenty regions, and stretches south past the east coast of Lake Taupo. The forest was first planted in the late 1920s and owned as a state asset by the New Zealand government. When it was under New Zealand Government control it was known as the Kaingaroa State Forest. Five families, one school and a local business are connected to optical fiber broadband internet services using wireless links and the school as a community hub. This may look small in front of massive Fiber to the home connections that are underway in many developed countries. We appreciate New Zealand Government’s commitment to provide most latest technological advancements to the least developed areas. This is what we expect the State establishments all over the world to do. The team behind this achievement believes this as an exciting leap forward in terms of delivering broadband internet services to rural communities. The team has been working with Kaingaroa Village School and internet service providers for some months to identify an affordable internet connection solution for families who have been part of their “Computers in Homes” programme. Most families in Kaingaroa Forest Village did not have telephone lines and were unable to get access to the internet from their homes. Chorus had installed a fiber optic cable to the school, but this cable had not been connected for school use. The project team worked to get the fiber cable into operation, not only for the school but also for the rest of the community. especially the families identified for Computers in Homes program. The team worked with a wireless infrastructure provider (WiMax Developments Limited), Chorus (as the provider of the fiber optic cable) and TrustPower Kinect(as the internet service provider). The project got support from Kaingaroa Forest School, a local wood processing business (KLC) and the Village Management Committee. Needless to add, this is a great team work. Connectivity to ultra-fast broadband network and to the internet will provide lots of other learning opportunities to the children in the communities. The primary objective for the Kaingaroa project has been to deliver affordable broadband internet services for Computers in Homes families in Kaingaroa Village, but the 2020 Trust has also been working with InternetNZ to find ways to leverage the investment being made by government in connecting schools to ultra-fast broadband to speed up internet connections for whole rural communities. Sharing the optical fiber backhaul costs addresses the affordability concerns. The use of wireless connects rural communities into broadband world. The wireless links were installed late last year, using the school and KLC as access points, but it has taken nearly four months to get live internet services to the school hub. The Kaingaroa Forest model could have applicability in other rural communities throughout New Zealand. We believe, Fiber to Kaingaroa Forest model could be applied to any part of the world.

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