Broadband, mobile coverage leaps forward in rural NZ

Digital Economy and Communications

Significant progress has been made in improving connectivity for rural areas across New Zealand figures released today show, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark says.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how reliable internet is vital to being able to work, learn and socialise from our homes. Access to good connection should not be a postcode lottery,” David Clark said.

“In the December quarter, 38 new mobile towers went live lifting the total towers built across rural New Zealand to 310. Seventy mobile towers have also been upgraded, improving broadband to an additional 2,380 homes and businesses across the country.

“Further to that, 983 kilometres of State Highway and 82 tourism sites in some of New Zealand’s most remote areas now have coverage courtesy of the Mobile Blackspot Fund.

“Nationwide, UFB availability continues to expand, now reaching 86 percent of the population. This level of uptake supports the Government’s vision for such a transformational broadband network in a world where high speed broadband connections are becoming increasingly important.

“The Marae Digital Connectivity programme has connected 553 marae around the country to broadband. Demand continues to be very strong, with an additional 37 connected in the quarter, and there are now 530 marae with digital equipment installed.

“Marae provide important digital hubs to local hapū and whānau, where cost barriers create digital exclusion,” David Clark said.

Work on the rural broadband and mobile black spots programme is set to be completed in 2023. Combined with the completion of the UFB roll-out and existing broadband networks, New Zealand will have improved broadband coverage to 99.8 per cent of the population.

The Quarterly Connectivity Report is released by CIP and can be found here.