Chatham Islands Community WiFi
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
The Chatham Islands is one of the remotest locations in New Zealand. Home to around 600 residents, the island relies on satellite services to remain connected to the world. There is no fibre to the island. Local infrastructure has aged and having a reliable Internet connection is a challenge for many locals. Connectivity is expensive and comes with relatively low data caps, making online activities including education and business unaffordable and limited. The lack of Internet availability and/or affordability has a direct impact on local education, economy, and the wellbeing of the people.
Te One School has become a hub for students and parents alike seeking connectivity. However, the pressure on existing connections and limited bandwidth has made it difficult for locals to harness the power of the Internet. It restricts tamariki and rangatahi learning, as well as adults in their work.
On-demand grant funding will support the installation of an Internet connected WiFi hub in the school, that will benefit the wider community. Gravity Internet Ltd will match InternetNZ's contribution dollar for dollar. By increasing the availability of connections, this mahi will enable digital literacy and help the community benefit from opportunities the Internet can provide. Access will be free to locals and will benefit those that cannot access otherwise the Internet.
The community WiFi hub will be separate from the aging local infrastructure, beamed direct from Wellington. The hub will be proactively managed to ensure an open Internet, that is safe for the community to use.
The aim is to see the local community digitally empowered, with a public resource they can call theirs. By removing the barriers of cost, limited bandwidth and connectivity this remote community will be able to take advantage of the benefits that the Internet can provide. They will measure the volume of use and diversity of devices connected over the next 24 months in order to measure the success and value of this initiative - and in the hopes of securing ongoing funding in the years to come.
Each year InternetNZ gives out community grants including on-demand grants to provide support for community-led initiatives that extend the availability, use, and benefit of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications in Aotearoa.
This initiative was the recipient of funding in 2021.