25 Mar 2014

Rural Maori call for cell cover

6:40 am on 25 March 2014

Tangata whenua living in rural communities have told Vodafone they want cellphone coverage, especially on isolated roads and farms.

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The company wants to provide broadband and a mobile service to thousands of homes across the country.

Vodafone is one of two firms to have secured a contract under government scheme the Rural Broadband Initiative.

Vodafone community relations manager Caitlin Metz says communities, many of them Maori, want both broadband and cellphone service because they don't want to be disadvantaged anymore. They want mobile coverage along rural roads and on farmland.

Ms Metz says through the government scheme, it will increase coverage along 4500km of roads, which will provide a level of comfort for residents, emergency services and district councils.

The work has been rolled out in Northland, including places such as Karikari, Ruatangata and Maungakaramea.