The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) together with its partners Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees have announced that new rural broadband and mobile services are now live into twenty new rural locations across New Zealand.
These new sites will provide high speed wireless broadband and quality mobile coverage to around 1,600 rural homes and businesses, across 70 kms of state highway and to 13 tourist sites. Depending on the customer’s provider and their current mobile phone, some customers may need to get software updates to their phone or upgrade their phone.
The new sites are the result of an industry leading collaboration between the three mobile network operators and Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to build essential broadband and mobile services for rural New Zealand. Services are now available over the RCG network to customers of Spark, Vodafone or 2degrees.
The RCG’s Executive Director Andrew Button says:
“We are proud to be at the centre of a programme which unites three leading technology providers and enables them to deliver improved connectivity to rural New Zealand. Getting to the point of ‘switch on’ for these communities has been a huge effort for our fantastic teams, and we can’t wait to bring more mobile broadband to more heartland Kiwis, who have previously not been able to connect reliably.”
The Government via Crown Infrastructure Partners contracted the RCG to be the infrastructure provider to bring mobile and wireless broadband coverage to rural New Zealand under the Rural Broadband Initiative 2 and the Mobile Black Spot fund. The RCG is building, operating and maintaining this essential rural network infrastructure.
Once the RCG project is completed it will deliver new mobile and wireless broadband coverage to at least 38,000 rural homes and businesses across 500 new sites. It will also provide mobile coverage to a further 1,200 kilometres of state highways and provide connectivity to at least 152 top New Zealand tourist destinations by December 2022.
The RCG network uses Nokia 4G Multi Operator Core Network (MOCN) which has been deployed successfully with three mobile network operators. This new technology allows RCG to deployone Radio Access Network (RAN) to connect to the three differently architectured core networks of Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees.
This allows all three mobile networks to provide services to these rural communities from just one cell site that requires only three antennas to operate.
What our partners have to say:
Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said, “It’s exciting to see fast broadband and world class mobile infrastructure rolling out into rural areas around New Zealand. The connectivity is much needed to bridge the digital divide for rural communities and help the rural sector remain competitive. Bringing together the investment from Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees along with the Government’s RBI2 funding has been the key to providing service into more challenging and remote areas of New Zealand.”
Vodafone CEO Jason Paris said “Keeping Kiwis connected is a top priority for Vodafone, and we’re thrilled to be working alongside Spark, 2degrees and the Government to bring connectivity to rural New Zealand, which is the powerhouse of our economy. For this sector to remain competitive they need fast broadband and mobile coverage – not just in offices, but on farms, in schools, and on the roads. This once in a generation opportunity for all three mobile network operators to provide both competitive ultra-fast broadband and world class 4G mobile infrastructure will not only deliver the connectivity for rural New Zealand, but also the safety of Kiwis living in those remote areas.”
2degrees Chief Commercial Officer and RCG Board member Paul Mathewson said, “We’re proud as an industry to be able to collaborate and work together where it makes sense – and our RCG partnership with Spark and Vodafone is the perfect example. Connecting Kiwis with their loved ones or the people they do business with is at the heart of what drives us at 2degrees, and we’re thrilled that fast connectivity is going to reach the furthest and most remote corners of New Zealand.”
List of RCG sites that are now live:
Kaihu – Kaipara District Council
Aranga – Kaipara District Council
Fisher Riley – Far North District Council
Whangarei Heads – Whangarei District Council
Pipiwai – Whangarei District Council
Kaiatea Road – Whangarei District Council
Kaipara Coast Highway – Auckland Council
Te Arai – Auckland Council
Hawkes Bay Region
Waihua Beach – Wairoa District Council
Junction Road – Stratford District Council
Raurimu – Ruapehu District Council
West Coast Region
Charleston – Buller District Council
Rapahoe – Grey District Council
Tatare – Westland District Council
Ruatapu – Westland District Council
Inangahua – Buller District Council
Ikamatua – Buller District Council
Morton Mains – Southland District Council
Waikawa – Southland District Council
Otahu Flat – Southland District Council
For more information:
Caitlin Metz, Engagement Manager, Rural Connectivity Group
021 033 1116 or Caitlin.Metz@theRCG.nz