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Rural Broadband and Mobile Coverage Arrives At Midhirst

Rural Broadband and Mobile Coverage Arrives At Midhirst

Mobile coverage and broadband options just got better for residents and visitors to the Midhirst area of Stratford, as Vodafone lights up its newly built cell site under the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

A 25 metre monopole tower provides service to over 570 households in the Midhirst area.  The service delivers not only mobile coverage, but wireless broadband via a high performance modem, adding a WiFi network into the home.  Phone calls can also be made through this service by plugging an existing landline phone directly into the modem, removing the need for a landline connection. Customers can port their existing landline number to this new service.

Along with the new RBI site in Midhirst, six new towers are planned to be built in the Taranaki region over the next three years, including Carrington Road, Normanby and Kaponga in  South Taranaki, and Urenui, Oakura and Hurdon in New Plymouth. Jointly these will provide new mobile coverage and wireless broadband for over 5,500 homes and businesses.  Vodafone will also be upgrading two more of its existing 12 sites around Taranaki to deliver the wireless broadband service to rural residents.  Sites at Stratford and East Egmont have already been upgraded, as well as those at Hawera, Waverley and Opunake in South Taranaki, and sites at Inglewood, Waitara, Bell Block, outer New Plymouth and Fitzroy in the New Plymouth area.

Vodafone’s Regional Business Development Manager, Simon Bailey, says the new cell sites bring greater options to the community, with households and businesses now having choice in broadband service.

“Switching to wireless broadband can provide a consistent and reliable service to residents.  It also offers the rural farming community the opportunity to increase production and monitoring through machine-to-machine automation.”

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.

“This is a massive benefit for farming regions like Taranaki, in dealing with emergencies, transport logistics, road safety and other real life circumstances that have been hampered by limited coverage,” said Simon.

Under the five year RBI plan, Vodafone will upgrade 387 existing cell towers and build a further 154 new towers in rural areas all over New Zealand.  The government is funding the civil construction costs of these new sites which are designed to accommodate Vodafone equipment and that of other mobile and wireless operators.  55 new sites have been built so far, and an additional 173 have been upgraded meaning new services for an estimated 125,000 addresses in rural New Zealand.


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