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NZ Rural Youth Increasingly Isolated

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZ Rural Youth Increasingly Isolated

Close to three quarters of rural New Zealanders believe their youth are disadvantaged by their lack of access to broadband, according to a survey commissioned by Vodafone.

The survey findings highlight the challenges around education and employment opportunities and a growing sense of isolation felt throughout rural communities.

Of the 1,068 rural New Zealanders surveyed:

84% believe rural youth are missing out on learning opportunities

70% believe they are missing out on the development of IT skills

60% think they are missing out on employment opportunities

Over 50% think they are left out or isolated through an inability to easily participate in social networking sites.

Vodafone wants to help address these challenges which is why it has partnered with satellite broadband provider Farmside, to deliver broadband solutions that are available right now to New Zealanders no matter how remote their address.

"The rural sector is the backbone of New Zealand's economy and it is our intention to lessen the rural/urban digital divide by providing the right capability to help rural New Zealand now and in the future," says Vodafone's CEO Russell Stanners.

"It will be some time before fibre is connected to rural schools and communities, and in the meantime two out of three rural New Zealanders are concerned they are falling further behind the rest of the country. Many more are watching their children and grandchildren depart for the city just to get the same opportunities as their city mates."

With so many educational resources available online, respondents highlighted the time it can take to complete homework or study without broadband.

As one teenager put it: "As a sixteen year old, living in a rural area, internet access is incredibly slow and frustrating. I have difficulty accessing certain websites, which are vital for my homework thus limiting my learning, and I am also unable to successfully use social networking sites creating a divide between my friends and I."

More than 80% of respondents felt broadband would make their lives better because they would be better able to stay in touch with family and friends as social media tools like Facebook and Twitter become more commonplace around the rest of the world.

Being stuck on dial-up internet was cited as being more annoying than sky-rocketing petrol prices and the weather.

"At the end of the day, access to broadband shouldn't be a luxury; it's a necessity for all New Zealand's youth not just those who reside in the cities. If dial-up is high on the list of annoyances in rural New Zealanders' lives, as our research is telling us, we want more people using Farmside Satellite Broadband to get access to everything broadband internet offers," says Stanners.

As part of the rural broadband initiative, the government has announced that within six years 93% of rural schools will receive fibre enabling speeds of at least 100Mbit/s, with the remaining 7% to achieve speeds of at least 10Mbit/s. Over 80% of rural households will have access to broadband with speeds of at least 5Mbit/s, with the remainder to achieve speeds of at least 1Mbit/s.

As the rural broadband initiative gathers momentum, Farmside Satellite Broadband, through Vodafone, gives rural New Zealand immediate access to broadband, and for the 20% of households who live in exceptionally remote locations; satellite broadband is the perfect solution - delivering fast, reliable broadband without the need for a traditional phone line or 3G coverage.

For more information on how you can access Vodafone Farmside Satellite Broadband, please visit

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