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New tower boosts Akitio broadband options, mobile coverage

Media Release

14 February, 2014

New RBI tower boosts broadband options and mobile coverage for Akitio

Vodafone has switched on its newly built cell site at Akitio in the Tararua District – 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 lattice tower makes mobile coverage and wireless broadband available to over 218 households in the area for the first time.

In addition to the new tower at Akitio, Vodafone will upgrade five of its existing cell sites in the area, including Wharite, Norsewood, Eketahuna, Woodville and Pahiatua, improving coverage and capacity for over 2,600 households. Vodafone’s site at Dannevirke has already been upgraded.

Vodafone’s Community Relations Manager, Caitlin Metz, 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.

Caitlin adds: “This is a massive benefit for rural areas like Tararua in dealing with emergencies, transport logistics and road safety, previously hampered by limited coverage.”

Vodafone has ploughed ahead of the Government’s RBI targets, completing the construction of 76 new sites, and upgrades to 251, 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 Akitio 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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