9 August 2013
Rural Broadband and mobile coverage arrives at Blackball
Mobile coverage and broadband options just got better for residents and visitors to the Blackball area of Grey District, as Vodafone lights up its newly built cell site under the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
A 30 metre lattice tower provides service to an estimated 365 households in the Blackball 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 Blackball, two new towers are planned to be built in the Grey District over the next three years, including Barrytown and Gladstone. Jointly these will provide new mobile coverage and wireless broadband for over 840 homes and businesses. New towers have already been built at Camerons, Dobson and Lake Brunner, which is also the location of Vodafone’s first rural New Zealand 4G trial. Vodafone will also be upgrading its site in outer Greymouth to deliver the wireless broadband service to rural residents.
Vodafone’s Business Development Manager Jake Vargo 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 an estimated 4,500km of rural New Zealand roads, which until now have been without.
“This is a massive benefit for farming districts like the West Coast, in dealing with emergencies, transport logistics, road safety and other real life circumstances that have been hampered by limited coverage,” he said.
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. 47 new sites have been built so far, and an additional 161 have been upgraded meaning new services for over 110,000 addresses in rural New Zealand.
Customers can find out if this service will be
available at their address by checking online at