The first of eight Waikato towns is underway.
Image caption: Turangawaewae Marae Kaumatua, Pokaia Nepia, with Ultrafast Fibre Chief Executive William Hamilton following the blessing of installation work for ultra-fast broadband into Ngāruawāhia.
Ngāruawāhia has welcomed the start of work to expand the Ultrafast Fibre high-speed broadband network to the town with a special blessing.
Turangawaewae Marae kaumatua, Pokaia Nepia, was on hand to welcome Ultrafast Fibre staff and contractors and to bless the project for a safe completion.
The North Waikato town is one of three smaller areas in the North Island currently undergoing the second stage expansion along with Omokoroa and Stratford.
Fibre laying will be carried out simultaneously in the three towns.
The areas are part of the second wave of fibre installation by Ultrafast Fibre [UFF] which has already successfully completed deployment of a 3000 kilometre fibre optic network to eight central North Island cities and towns.
The second tranche of fibre deployment, of which the three towns are part of, will also include Huntly, Kihikihi, Raglan, Eltham, Inglewood, Waitara, Putaruru, Te Puke, and Katikati.
UFF chief executive William Hamilton said the expanded network footprint has created a lot of interest from the towns.
"We know these smaller communities can hardly wait to be connected. We would love to deliver fibre to everyone immediately, but we do have a build programme to work through, stretching out for the next year or so," Hamilton said.
The blessing was held at the entrance to the town near the Waikato River where reference was made to the significance of the fibre network being an information highway that in some ways echos the river as a previous economic highway for local people.
UFF owned by Community Trust through WEL Networks Ltd and Waipa Networks Ltd.
The second launch of the fibre installation was announced by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges in January.
It was part of former prime minister Bill English and Bridges' launch of the second $300m phase of the National's UFB programme.
The UFF network represents about 13 per cent of the entire national UFB build.
A further expansion now includes 15 new and/or areas adjacent to these existing cities and towns.
Once the full programme is complete, more than 335,000 people in the Waikato will be able to access UFB.