New Zealand mobile carriers dig deep for rural broadband

06 April 2017 |

New Zealand carriers have offered a sum of NZ$75m to ensure that the rollout of high-speed broadband to rural areas progresses faster.

Mobile carriers in New Zealand have submitted a joint document on the government’s rural broadband and rural blackspot programme offering a sum of NZ$75m to ensure that the rollout of high-speed broadband to rural areas takes place.

New Zealand carriers Spark, Vodafone NZ, and 2degrees have banded together in an informal consortium to provide an initial infrastructure capital contribution of NZ$75m to the government’s plans to simultaneously upgrade the high-speed broadband network while improving the services to outlying regional and rural areas.

The carriers obviously see the work as central to their own success since they have also agreed to invest what they describe as hundreds of millions of dollars on Operating Expenditure throughout the life of the projects which the government has planned.

The companies have proposed 500 new cell sites which they estimate would increase desperately poor rural coverage by at least 25%.   

In a Request For Proposals (RFP) last year the New Zealand Communications Minister Amy Adams in October said the work would provide speeds of up to 20Mbps broadband speeds while the ‘blackspots’ program would enable mobile coverage across 1,200 kilometres of state highways and other tourism destinations which were not detailed.

In a statement at the time, Adams said: "Around 293,000 rural New Zealanders are accessing better broadband under the first phase of our RBI program. This next stage sees an investment of NZ$150 million to extend coverage to even more New Zealanders."