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Milestone 250th Tower Continues To Improve Rural Connectivity

Hon Dr David Clark
Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications

The Government has welcomed the completion of the 250th 4G mobile tower, as part of its push for better rural connectivity.

250th 4G mobile tower

Waikato’s Wiltsdown, which is roughly 80 kilometres south of Hamilton, is home to the new tower, deployed by the Rural Connectivity Group to enable improved service to 70 homes and businesses in the surrounding area.

Nationally, Government-funded connectivity programmes under the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 (RBI2) have improved connectivity for more than 62,000 rural households and businesses.

“This Government is committed to ensuring that more rural communities enjoy the social and economic benefits of fast, reliable broadband connection,” said David Clark.

“Along with building new infrastructure to deliver improved digital connectivity to rural areas, the Government committed $10 million in Budget 2021 to open up suitable radio spectrum for rural communities, where broadband capacity and coverage is under pressure.

“This will mean vastly improved broadband for rural communities in the long-term as the 600MHz band, is a lower frequency, better suited to 5G services in rural areas.”

The Government also remains committed to its 2020 Election Manifesto commitment to establish a $60 million fund for improving connectivity and backhaul services in the worst connected parts of New Zealand.

“We understand the need for, and want to see the delivery of, reliable fast internet connections to rural Aotearoa,” said David Clark.

The demand for data and faster download speeds has grown rapidly in recent years, and work to increase capacity and improve the performance of rural networks is also underway.

The Government is in the process of investing $65 million to support the delivery of programmes targeting rural connectivity, including capacity upgrades for the original Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI1) whilst other rural connectivity improvements are being funded through the COVID-19 Response Fund.

More than 836 kilometres of State Highway and 58 tourism sites have also been provided with mobile coverage under the Mobile Blackspot Fund programme.

More information about the progress of the Government’s connectivity programmes is available at www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/.

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