RCG to deploy new 4G telecoms network on Chatham Islands

12 Apr 2021

The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), a joint venture between New Zealand mobile network operators (MNOs) Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, has signed a contract to deploy a new 4G wireless network in the Chatham Islands, an archipelago about 800km east of South Island. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, RCG will leverage the Eutelsat 172B satellite to provide the backhaul telecommunications link back to New Zealand for five cell sites positioned around the island to maximise 4G wireless broadband coverage to residents on both Chatham Island and Pitt Island, whilst also bringing 4G mobile coverage across the majority of the islands’ roads. Crown Infrastructure Partners, the state-owned body set up to coordinate the country’s national connectivity programmes, has confirmed NZD11.5 million (USD8.08 million) of funding for the project, including contributions from the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 (RBI2), the Provincial Growth Fund and the three MNOs.