The Remote Users Scheme (RUS) is focused on increasing the availability of broadband connectivity in rural and remote New Zealand.
Digital connectivity programmes have worked to cover large parts of Aotearoa including many small communities, but there are still more remaining to be covered. These are some of the most remote areas and people across the country and are difficult to find a solution for.
Through the Remote Users Scheme, eligible households and communities in Aotearoa’s most remote areas – where broadband is not currently available and there is only access to voice calling and text services – will be able to apply for support. The Scheme will also be available in rural areas with poor internet coverage.
The first phase of RUS aims to provide a broadband internet service to an area by extending existing networks. Those still without coverage after this has been done, may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of up to $2,000 towards set up and installation costs of a suitable broadband solution.
CIP is now calling for applications from potentially eligible households and communities HERE. A public tender for extending existing networks from internet service providers will follow.
Once contracts are complete, those unable to be connected to this extended connectivity may be eligible for the $2,000 grant. CIP will make decisions on grants from mid-2023.
It is expected that new broadband connectivity infrastructure for the eligible areas and households can begin being built late 2023.
Reaching those with no connectivity
The RUS will launch with a Call for Applications from people in rural and remote areas who have no and/or poor connectivity at their principal residence.
Letters will be sent to those known to have no and/or poor connectivity and local communities will also mobilise on the ground to ensure as many people without connectivity are aware of the scheme and can apply.
Applications will require the name, address, and details of the household, along with confirmation that you believe you have no or poor internet connectivity.
Once applications are received and verified for eligibility, CIP will prepare an RFP to invite tenders from telecommunications providers to provide connectivity infrastructure for those in areas with no or poor connectivity options.
If your household has registered and is still unable to receive coverage, you may be eligible for the Remote Users Scheme grants, through a rebate system. This will provide one-off grants of up to $2000 to households that do not have access to connectivity, or planned connectivity, at the completion of the coverage extensions under existing government programmes.
Grants will be made to eligible applicants in the order in which they are received, up to the remaining funding available. You will need to provide an invoice or evidence of payment towards the setup or installation costs incurred.
To be eligible for the RUS, applicants should:
Have a principal residence in a rural or remote area. This could include:
- Owner occupied dwellings
- Multiple principal residences on a single property
- Tenanted dwellings
- Farmhouses occupied by share farmers (usually under a “right to reside” arrangement)
- Occupied dwellings on Māori land.
Not be capable of receiving a commercial broadband service or have a poor service. This will include both existing and planned coverage (if any) in the area.
How do I apply for RUS?
Just fill in the form here
We will need to collect some personal information from you regarding eligibility for this scheme.
At a later stage you will need to provide:
- Proof of address
- Proof of principal residence
- Declaration of no or poor service availability where you live (which CIP will verify)
Further information is available here