New Zealand’s three largest mobile network operators (MNOs), Spark, Vodafone New Zealand and Two Degrees Mobile (2degrees) have submitted a joint proposal to the government to work together on the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2) and mobile blackspots programme, writes ZD Net. The combined entity would put forward NZD75 million (USD53 million) for the project which would offer faster mobile and broadband speeds for Kiwis living in rural and remote areas of the islands. The trio would also invest hundreds of millions of dollars more on infrastructure, with the government itself contributing NZD150 million through its Telecommunications Development Levy. 500 new base station sites are slated for development in the proposal, which would increase landmass coverage by 25%.
Commenting on the plan, Vodafone NZ CEO Russell Stanners said: ‘The combination of the government’s RBI funding and this investment by the three mobile network operators presents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver both competitive ultra-fast broadband and world-class 4G mobile infrastructure to areas of New Zealand that today have neither.’