RCG connects Chatham Islands to the rest of the world

1 Dec 2021

The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), a joint venture between New Zealand mobile network operators (MNOs) Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, has announced residents of the Chatham Islands can now use their mobile phones at home following the activation of a new 4G wireless network on the archipelago about 800km east of South Island.

Built as part of the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 (RBI2) and funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, the NZD11.5 million (USD7.8 million) network enables 4G wireless broadband services, mobile voice, data and text services to be provided by the three MNOs and their wholesale partners. In addition to deploying five mobile masts around the main island, the RCG has built a new satellite dish providing eight times the capacity of the previous link, connecting the islands to the national telecoms network via the Eutelsat 172B satellite.

The new RCG sites are the result of a collaboration between Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees and state-owned body Crown Infrastructure Partners that has already seen over 275 cell sites built across rural New Zealand to deliver essential broadband and mobile services.