Communications Minister Simon Bridges is welcoming the launch of the Tauranga City and Western Bay District councils Digital Enablement Project.
The purpose of the project is to both support growth in the Bay of Plenty, and allow everyone in the region to access, participate and benefit from digital technologies together.
Simon says the Digital Enablement Project, which was officially launched at the Tauranga Art Gallery on Wednesday night, will help leverage the government's investment in bringing faster broadband to the region.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that our focus on improving connectivity is intended to facilitate – communities connecting-up, using digital tools and services, and reaping the benefits from access to fast broadband.
“ICT service and software exports doubled between 2008 and 2014, making ICT our third largest export. And a report released last year by NZTech showed in 2015 our tech sector contributed over $16 billion to GDP, exported over $6 billion in goods and services and employed 98,900 people.”
The Tauranga MP says supporting growth of the New Zealand tech sector is one of the key outcome areas identified in the government's Building a Digital Nation report.
But it's much wider than the tech sector, it's also about supporting businesses across all sectors of the economy, by encouraging them to see the possibilities technology offers them and their business, adds Simon.
“For example, finding new markets, developing new products and services, improving customer experiences and increasing business efficiency.
“I'd like to congratulate the Tauranga and Western Bay Councils for reaching this milestone and I'm looking forward to seeing local businesses, schools and people getting involved in the Digital Enablement Project.
“This openness to new ways of thinking, and to exploring new technologies, are essential if we want to become a leading digital nation,” says Simon.
As part of the second phase of the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, the government allocated $17.2 million for the Bay of Plenty, which will see fast broadband extended to 10 more towns by the end of 2024.
Once the full UFB programme is complete, almost 243,000 people – or 80 per cent of the Bay of Plenty's population – will be able to access UFB. Read more here.