The New Zealand government has welcomed the completion of the 250th LTE cell site deployed as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 (RBI2) programme to improve rural connectivity. The new tower in Wiltsdown on the North Island was installed by the Rural Connectivity Group, a joint venture formed by Vodafone New Zealand, Spark and 2degrees, to provide an improved service to 70 homes and businesses in the surrounding area.
In a press release marking the milestone, David Clark, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, noted government-funded connectivity programmes under the RBI2 initiative have now improved connectivity for more than 62,000 households and businesses across the country. ‘This government is committed to ensuring that more rural communities enjoy the social and economic benefits of fast, reliable broadband connection,’ he said.
Aside from building new infrastructure, the government has also committed NZD10 million (USD7.06 million) to open up suitable radio spectrum for rural communities. The minister claimed this will vastly improve broadband capacity and coverage in the long-term as the 600MHz band is better suited to 5G services in rural areas. The government also remains committed to its 2020 election manifesto pledge to establish a NZD60 million fund for improving connectivity and backhaul services in the worst connected parts of the country, he said.