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New RBI tower boosts broadband options and mobile coverage

Media Release

16 January, 2013

New RBI tower boosts broadband options and mobile coverage for Aongatete

Vodafone has switched on its newly built cell site at Aongatete in the Western Bay of Plenty – part of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) – providing improved mobile coverage and broadband options for residents and visitors to the area.

The 30 metre monopole tower makes mobile coverage and wireless broadband available to over 990 households in the area for the first time.

New towers are planned for the Western Bay of Plenty District over the next three years, including at Maketu, Te Ranga South and Paengaroa, jointly providing mobile coverage and wireless broadband for over 3,280 homes and businesses. Additionally, Vodafone has upgraded its sites at Katikati, Kaimai, Athenree and Pukehina, and its Te Puke site will be upgraded in the next three years.

Vodafone’s Regional Sales Manager, Andrew Hitchfield, says there’s no question that access to high-speed broadband makes a significant difference to the lives of rural New Zealanders.

“The faster, 21MB wireless broadband modem introduced last year, allows customers to experience speeds in excess of some city dwellers, and provides a consistent and reliable service – far superior to dial-up speeds.

“Having high-speed broadband not only enables the use of farming technology and agri-innovation, but employment and study options for rural youth.  It also gives farmers the opportunity to explore machine-to-machine technology, used for example to track fertilizer spreading, rainfall and frost temperatures, preventing waste and loss.”

An additional benefit of RBI for rural communities is the extension of mobile coverage to include 4,500km of rural New Zealand roads, which until now have been without.

Andrew adds: “This is a massive benefit for rural areas like Western Bay of Plenty in dealing with emergencies, transport logistics, road safety and other real life circumstances previously hampered by limited coverage.”

Vodafone has ploughed ahead of the Government’s RBI targets, completing the construction of 74 new sites, and upgrades to 248, meaning new services for over 130,000 addresses in rural New Zealand.  At the half way point of the five year programme the company has already secured the necessary agreements and consents for 65% of new sites.

Under the five year RBI plan, Vodafone will fund the upgrade of 387 existing cell towers and build a further 154 new towers in rural areas all over New Zealand to achieve government community coverage targets.  The government is funding the civil construction costs of the new sites which are designed to accommodate Vodafone equipment and that of other mobile and wireless operators. 

The addition of mobile and broadband coverage at Aongatete is another enhancement to the Vodafone SuperNet, New Zealand's superior network for landline, mobile, broadband and TV.

Customers can find out if this service will be available at their address by checking online at

www.vodafone.co.nz/rural-broadband.

ENDS

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