Maori miss out on urgent airwaves Waitangi Tribunal hearing

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has welcomed the Waitangi Tribunal’s decision not to grant an urgent hearing of the WAI2224 claim regarding Māori interests in the 700 MHz band of radio spectrum.

“The Tribunal decision notes that the Crown has already had the benefit of the Tribunal’s advice on earlier, similar claims in making its decision regarding the allocation of spectrum,” Ms Adams says.

The allocation of the 700 MHz band of spectrum will allow the building of fourth generation (4G) mobile networks using the spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television.

The auction is scheduled to start on 29 October 2013.  The start date will be confirmed after completion of the bidder registration process.

The use of mobile broadband services is growing at an enormous rate in New Zealand. Fast, reliable access to mobile broadband is enabling improvements in productivity and ease of business, and providing new applications for consumers.

“The auction will enable early access for New Zealanders to 4G mobile technology, particularly in rural areas.

“Indications are that by using the spectrum for 4G mobile networks, we can expect economic benefits for New Zealand of up to $2.4 billion over the next twenty years.”

The Government has a number of initiatives underway to ensure Māori have access to the benefits of digital technology.

In addition, the Government is investigating the creation of a $30 million ICT development fund, focussed on the way government can help Maori leverage the potential benefits from new technologies, and promote and support the language and culture in a digital world.