Regions benefiting from rural broadband

  • Amy Adams

Connectivity is growing rapidly in the regions with more New Zealanders than ever before now able to access faster rural broadband, Communications Minister Amy Adams says.

The latest quarterly report for phase one of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) build as at 30 September 2015 shows 271,000 rural addresses can connect to the network.

“With 35.6 per cent uptake across the network, RBI is making sure that New Zealanders living in our rural and remote areas can enjoy the benefits of faster, better internet,” Ms Adams says.

“The RBI is making a genuine difference to farmers, schools, hospitals and health centres in rural areas as well as families and households.”

More than 102,000 rural copper lines have been upgraded and 122 new towers are now ready for service with a further 324 towers upgraded.

All rural hospitals are now able to connect and it is the Government’s aim to reach all schools and 90 per cent of businesses by the end of the year.

“Rural connectivity is a core part of the Government’s plan to support our regional economies. We want to see all New Zealanders, whether urban or rural, with access to the economic and social opportunities high-speed connectivity brings,” Ms Adams says.

The RBI programme has been subject to eight independent audits with another one underway, which show the programme is meeting its targets and working as expected.

Ms Adams said the Government was now looking ahead at enhancing and extending RBI to as many people as possible.

“We’ve allocated an extra $100 million to expand the Rural Broadband programme as well as $50 million to improve mobile coverage in black spot areas along main highways and in popular tourist destinations.

“We’ve got a bold 2025 target of 99 per cent of New Zealanders able to access peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps – which is a ten-fold increase on RBI peak speeds. I’m proud to be putting rural connectivity at the heart of our regional economy development strategy.”

RBI figure at a glance:

  • 271,000 rural addresses can now connect to the network
  • 102,000 fixed lines upgraded under RBI to receive faster copper-based broadband – 98% complete
  • 35.6% uptake across the network
  • 122 new towers built – 79% complete
  • 342 towers upgraded – 84% complete
  • 255,000 addresses able to connect to fixed wireless RBI.

The full quarterly update can be found at