More rural New Zealanders are experiencing faster internet speeds thanks to Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) towers being upgraded to 4G, Communications Minister Amy Adams said today.
As of this month, more than 200 of Vodafone’s RBI towers have been built or upgraded to 4G.
“This means more than 100,000 rural families and businesses now have access to fibre-like speeds, with some experiencing speeds of 100Mbps,” Ms Adams says.
“By this time next year, around 290,000 households and businesses will have access to high-speed wireless broadband under the Rural Broadband Initiative.
“With the 4G upgrade programme for 2016, we’re expecting many of them to benefit from the fastest speeds available.”
The towers are built by Vodafone as part of its contract with the Government to allow more rural communities nationwide to have faster wireless broadband. It represents a major step in the initiative to get rural communities connected.
“Mobile data usage in rural New Zealand is soaring, with growth on just one network sitting around 270 per cent between 2013 and 2015,” Ms Adams says.
Over that same period, the agribusiness sector benefitted from improved productivity and efficiencies as a result of improved rural mobile coverage, with a 106 per cent increase in the number of connected devices from 2013 to 2015.
“There’s little doubt that our RBI programme is delivering massive value for those living in our rural and farming communities. Building on this success, we’re now looking ahead to rolling out more coverage through the next phase of RBI which sits alongside our bold new target of virtually every New Zealander receiving speeds of at least 50Mbps by 2025, regardless of where they work or live.”