Crown Infrastructure Partners
|27 May 2021||
Improved digital connectivity continuing to grow
The latest Broadband Quarterly Connectivity Update to March 2021 shows the continued demand for connectivity in Aotearoa, enabled by the successful deployment of infrastructure by Crown Infrastructure Partners’ (CIP) partners across the connectivity programmes.
Households and businesses across the country are continuing to connect to Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) at pace, with uptake at 64% overall. Whatawhata remains at the top position for uptake with 92%. Morrinsville and Horotiu are at 88% uptake, and Te Kauwhata is close behind with 82%. UFB availability continues to expand with 84% of the population in over 280 UFB towns and cities now with UFB available.
The average speed of UFB services is now 253 Mbps, with 17% of connections using gigabit1 UFB services.
“It’s fantastic to see smaller towns and cities embracing UFB and connecting to this service,” said Graham Mitchell, CEO of CIP. “This level of uptake supports the Government’s vision for such a transformational broadband network in a world where high speed broadband connections are becoming essential, especially in COVID-19 times.”
“Households and businesses are continuing to move to the fastest UFB plans that they can. Gigabit connections are continuing to grow, with 186,528 households and businesses now on a gigabit connection” said Mr Mitchell. “Over 12,000 additional households and businesses chose a gigabit connection this quarter”.
There is more strong progress for rural New Zealand; with 37 new mobile towers live in the quarter lifting the total towers built across rural New Zealand to 233, as well as 6 mobile towers upgraded. This increased mobile coverage combined with Wireless ISP (WISP) coverage improved broadband to an additional 3,187 homes and businesses in the quarter. This has been possible due to the work of the RBI2 programme partners; the 17 wireless ISPs (WISPs) working around the country and the Rural Connectivity Group.
“62,626 rural homes and businesses now have access to improved broadband – that’s 74% of rural homes and businesses in scope for the programme that are now able to connect. Having 233 mobile towers live across rural Aoteroa is a remarkable achievement,” said Mr. Mitchell.
There are now 836km of State Highways with additional mobile coverage under the Mobile Black Spots Fund (MBSF) programme, and 58 tourism sites with improved coverage. There is now coverage on 59% of black spots on some of New Zealand’s most remote State Highways.
The March quarter also saw 63 kilometres of fibre deployed on the State Highway 6 fibre link the Fox Glacier township to Lake Hawea, bringing the total to 170km fibre link will create connectivity resilience in the South Island, by providing an alternative route to existing networks and provide fibre connectivity to the 19 of mobile towers being built along State Highway 6. It will also mean the Haast township will get access to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB).
The Marae Digital Connectivity programme has now connected 420 marae around the country to broadband. Demand continues to be very strong, with an additional 46 connected in the quarter, and there are now 384 marae with digital equipment installed.
“Marae are providing important digital hubs to local hapu and whanau and are assisting in further bridging the digital divide by providing connectivity for those whanau who can’t afford broadband.” said Mr Mitchell.
When work on RBI2 and MBSF is completed by 2023, and combined with completion of the UFB roll-out and existing broadband networks, New Zealand will have broadband coverage to 99.8 per cent of the population.
The Quarterly Connectivity Report is released by CIP and can be found at: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/quarterly
The report provides information on the progress of:
1 The ‘gigabit service’ is a UFB broadband Ethernet service that provides speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second download and 500 megabit per second upload on the wholesale UFB network.
NOTE TO EDITORS
More information can be found at CIP’s website: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz