Rural Capacity Upgrades

With more people working and learning from home and general population growth, the demand on the capacity of many rural internet towers has increased. This has resulted in some towers going into ‘stop sell’ where no new users can be supported. The impact of stop sells and congestion on households and businesses is a significant restriction on the ability to work from home, conduct home schooling, engage in e-commerce, connect with whānau, keep updated on events and access entertainment.

With a focus on capacity at the urban fringe, 70 rural mobile broadband towers were initially upgraded at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown to ease network congestion during this time.

Since then, two rounds of funding have been secured for further capacity upgrades totalling ~$90m.

The upgrades will include a range of technology types, best suited to the area:

  • Fibre-to-the-Home
  • VDSL / Copper
  • 4G / 5G Mobile Broadband
  • Fixed Wireless Broadband

In the first round of funding, and announced by Minister Clark in February 2022, the following areas were included:

Lightwire Waikato, Bay of Plenty Fixed wireless
Ultimate Broadband Canterbury Fixed wireless
Unifone Otago Fixed wireless
AmuriNet Canterbury Fibre and fixed wireless
Gisborne Net Tarawhiti Fibre and fixed wireless
Primo Wireless Taranaki Fixed wireless
Spark Digital National Fixed & Mobile broadband
Vodafone National Fixed & Mobile broadband
Tuatahi Waikato, Bay of Plenty Fibre
MAT Net Canterbury Fixed wireless
Kiwi Wifi Tasman Fixed wireless
Wifi Connect Bay of Plenty Fixed wireless
Northpower Fibre Northland Fibre

February media release:

Contracting is underway for the second round and information will be available in due course.