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West Coast Gets Connectivity Boost With 2degrees

Homes and businesses on the West Coast now have boosted 2degrees mobile and broadband services, thanks to the telco’s role as part of the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG).

Three new cell sites have been switched on in the region this year, and one more is on the way later in 2020, as part of a wider RCG programme that was established to connect and build essential broadband and mobile services for rural New Zealand. These are in addition to the nine sites the RCG built on the West Coast in 2019.

“We are proud to invested more than $960m in to our own 2degrees national mobile network during the last 10 years, and this covers most of the places Kiwis spend their time. Together with the mobile industry and Government, we’re part of RCG, which is reducing the digital divide in remote areas,” said Paul Mathewson 2degrees Chief Commercial Officer and RCG Board member.

“What matters most about today’s news is what that means for West Coast residents, especially at a time when connectivity matters more than ever. Some of these sites use 4G and some 3G and 4G technology, offering better mobile coverage and faster data speeds, and access to wireless broadband.

“Connecting Kiwis with their loved ones or the people they do business with is at the heart of what drives us at 2degrees, and we’re thrilled that fast connectivity is going to reach the areas that need it,” said Mr Matthewson.

The 2degrees rural wireless broadband plan is $85 per month and it provides 170GB of data, with extra data available for purchase in 20GB blocks at a cost of $15 per block.

However, in response to the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown, 2degrees has lifted broadband caps until 30 June 2020 for all its broadband customers.

In a true sign of the times, for those sites that are 4G only, some older mobile devices may not be able to take traditional voice calls on the network. Customers with 3G devices can make web-based calls with the likes of Viber, WhatsApp or FaceTime.

About RCG

The sites are the result of collaboration between the three mobile network operators and Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP). The RCG is a joint venture between the three telcos and services are available over the RCG network to customers of 2degrees, Spark or Vodafone or other retailers via wholesale arrangements.

Once the RCG project is completed it will deliver new mobile and wireless broadband coverage to at least 38,000 rural homes and businesses. It will also provide mobile coverage to a further 1,200 kilometres of state highways and provide connectivity to at least 152 top New Zealand tourist destinations by December 2022. The RCG will build one set of shared infrastructure, enabling wholesalers and all three mobile networks to provide services to these rural communities from just one cell site.

West Coast sites already live this year

Site nameCouncil RegionSite technology
KongahuBuller District4G
Little WanganuiBuller District4G
KokatahiWestland District4G

West Coast sites going live later in 2020

Site nameCouncil RegionSite technologyGo live
HaastWestland District3G4GScheduled for October

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