Companies are working together to bring broadband to rural New Zealand. Farmside is the national service operator for IPSTAR satellite-based communication products throughout New Zealand. Vodafone is the country’s leading mobile communications provider and a challenger in the total communications market.
Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners says the deal will help drive uptake of broadband in rural New Zealand.
“Every year the telco industry pays Telecom tens of millions of dollars to provide rural New Zealand with local calling and dial-up access. In this day and age that’s unacceptable.”
Stanners says it’s easy to forget just how revolutionary broadband has been for the urban customer.
“Rural New Zealand has been left behind. All that is about to change.”
“The rural sector is the backbone of the New Zealand economy, yet they’re operating on fax machines while the rest of us get email on our mobiles, surf the net or conduct our business from remote locations. If New Zealand is to break into the top half of the OECD as an economy we have to give all New Zealanders the opportunity to take part, not just the city folk..”
Vodafone and Farmside will work together to provide broadband over the right technology for the customer: mobile where that’s appropriate or satellite where it’s not. This partnership extends Farmside’s ability to reach customers using Vodafone’s scale and experience in the telco sector.
Farmside’s CEO Tony Baird says instead of being “commercially non-viable” these customers form the life-blood of the rural economy, which makes up around 50% of New Zealand’s exports and is the home for around 25% of the population.
“Satellite can save the day for the rural sector enabling remote communities to access fast, reliable broadband. Dial-up frustration should be a thing of the past. Farmside has approximately 10,000 rural customers connected to satellite broadband. The remainder of rural New Zealand could switch on tomorrow.”
Vodafone’s mobile service and Farmside’s satellite service are the ideal solution for “commercially non-viable customers” who currently subsist on dial up and free local calling areas that are a fraction of the size of urban New Zealand.
Vodafone is offering to give all customers identified as CNVCs within Vodafone’s mobile coverage $500 worth of hardware free to ensure they can take part in the digital economy. Those outside Vodafone’s mobile coverage will receive free satellite installation from Farmside. This offer is valid until March 31, 2010.