Telco wins rural broadband contract
Telco minnow joins giants by winning rural broadband contract
A no-frills approach has seen Hawke’s Bay-based rural wireless broadband company AoNet Broadband successfully compete with the giants of the industry to win a slice of the Government’s latest rural broadband funding package.
Telecommunications Minister Simon Bridges today announced AoNet Broadband as the Wireless Internet Service Provider for the King Country, making it responsible for connecting homes over an area that includes remote and mountainous terrain.
The appointment is part of a $150 million funding package for telco companies to partner with the Government through Crown Fibre Holdings Limited (CFH) to bring better broadband and mobile services to an increased number of under-served rural areas, state highways, businesses, residents and tourists in New Zealand.
Through the initiative, AoNet Broadband has successfully negotiated with Crown Fibre Holdings for funding to develop the King Country rural broadband network, whilst also continuing to invest and grow the rural network in the Hawke’s Bay.
Established in 2014 after founder Lachlan Chapman found himself needing to connect broadband to his family’s Hawke’s Bay potato farm, AoNet Broadband has grown to service a large rural wireless network reaching across many parts of the North Island. The company currently has 125 tower sites throughout the North Island extending from Auckland to the Manawatu, from Puketitiri to Porangahau in the Hawke’s Bay and from Waimiha to Ohakune in the King Country. With six staff, AoNet Broadband proudly provides rural broadband speeds that are often faster than in urban locations.
Lachlan says he is delighted that AoNet Broadband has been able to secure the King Country contract. “At AoNet we’re all about keeping it simple – providing quality connections to small catchments in a cost-effective way, so regardless of your location you can still be connected. It’s great that Crown Fibre Holdings has recognised our approach to build towers at a fraction of the cost of the bigger telcos, and we’re looking forward to building the high performance, well-engineered and highly resilient broadband network the King Country region deserves.
“In the meantime, we’re also continuing to invest and grow the rural network in the Hawke’s Bay. As a regional operator, it’s always been community first and foremost for us, and we’re committed to enhancing and improving the connections and services for businesses and residents in the region where we first began.”
The first radio site as part of AoNet Broadband’s expanded network for the King Country is expected to be installed later next month and is expected to be completed by early to mid-2019.