Kopu moves into the fast (broadband) lane 07 April 2015 Much faster broadband speeds are available in much of Kopu now thanks to our Council working with Chorus to push forward their upgrade programme. (TCDC Chief Executive David Hammond introduces the briefing on Kopu's fast broadband upgrade and plans for a revamped business park.) The broadband cabinet at the corner of Queen and Quay streets that serves most of the area contained by State Highway 25 and the Waihou River can now handle a much greater load of internet traffic at much higher speeds. Chorus had originally programmed the work to take place in June 2016. Our Council worked proactively with Chorus and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (which pays for rural broadband upgrades) so that the work could be done this year but paid for out of next year's budget as originally planned. All our Council had to pay for was the capital cost to Chorus of moving forward the upgrade - $5,520. Another broadband cabinet, near the Kopu-Hikuai turnoff, that serves businesses by the State Highway roundabout, will be upgraded by June. The upgrade was announced to local business operators at a meeting on 1 April at the Kopu Station Hotel. Fast, steady broadband is as vital to the 21st Century economy as railways were to the 19th Century, says Ben Dunbar-Smith, our Economic Development Programme Manager. Get the most from your broadband Gerard Linstrom, Chorus's Industry and Communications Manager, came up from Wellington and provided a few tips on how businesspeople can make the most of the broadband upgrade. • Previously ADSL1 (asymmetric digital subscriber line) was available. Now, the faster ADSL2+ is available, with data capacity of 10 Megabits per second (Mbps). • Older modems can't handle the higher speed, so check how old your modem is, you may need to upgrade. • Check your broadband package with your Internet Service Provider (ISP - eg Spark, Telecom, etc). Some ISPs have sold packages that can only handle lower internet speeds. • Make sure your computer is using the latest operating system available. • If your computer is more than three years old, seriously consider getting a new one, because the older models can't handle the higher internet speeds. Likewise for your router. • Check the wiring on your premises. Cluttered wiring, with lots of add-ons over the years for a security system, Sky TV, etc, slow down internet speeds. Consider getting a separate jack that leads from the copper phone line off the street directly to your office. Your ISP can do this for about $200. Mr Linstrom also says business operators may wish to invest in upgrading their broadband package to VDSL (very-high-speed digital subscriber line), which is much faster than ADSL. Most ISPs will offer this for an extra $15/month, a sound investment which will make computer support services such as accounting software and video conferencing more efficient, Mr Linstrom says. Business park upgrade Council staff also took the opportunity to deliver an update on plans to make Kopu competitive with business parks outside the Coromandel, in order to keep existing businesses here and attract new ones and boost employment in our area. The key points raised were: • Infrastructure, especially stormwater handling facilities, needs to be upgraded in order for the business park to be further developed. • Our Council is taking a whole-of-council approach but with a single point of contact for Kopu business operators to liaise with us - that's our Economic Development Programme Manager Mr Dunbar-Smith. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. A lot of computer modelling and feasibility work on stormwater has been done. Proposals for retention ponds and a pumping station are in the Draft Long Term Plan (LTP), which is out for consultation until 9 April. All the details on what's proposed and how to make a submission are on our website at www.tcdc.govt.nz/ltp. "Council needs to hear whether you support these proposals or not," says Greg Hampton, our Council's Area Manager for Thames and Colville-Coromandel. After consultations with Kopu business operators, last year a concept plan for how the business park might eventually look - with a gateway hub to welcome visitors, a precinct devoted to marine industry activities and the aquaculture industry, and improved boat launch facilities - was drawn up. This plan is available on our website at www.tcdc.govt.nz/kopu-business. As well as a competitive business park, Kopu has potential as a recreational destination, with access to the Hauraki Rail Trail, the Waihou River and the Firth of Thames. "We now have an economic development resource to work with local businesses to roll out a business park to compete with other business parks outside the District," says Mr Hampton. The concept is in place and there will further discussions with the Kopu business community in the coming months to start making it a reality, in parallel with work on the key infrastructure enablers, including stormwater facilities.