Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced the completion of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) Phase 1 new tower programme, with 154 new cell towers now built ahead of schedule.
Adams was on site to celebrate the completion of the programme in Waipu, claiming that under the RBI, nearly 300,000 rural families and businesses are now able to access high speed 3G and 4G broadband services.
Under original specifications, the fixed wireless broadband service was to provide at least 5Mbps peak download speeds - recent testing shows the 4G service is delivering speeds nine times faster than originally promised.
“The new tower build has extended nationwide mobile coverage by 6200 square kilometres to reach a total of 125,700 square kilometres of coverage in rural New Zealand,” Adams says.
“The programme has extended coverage to areas where previously there was none. At the start of the build, nationwide mobile coverage of New Zealand’s land mass was at 38 per cent. With the rollout of RBI, mobile coverage is now approximately 50 per cent of the country’s mass.”
In 2011 the Government signed a $60 million contract with Vodafone for the supply of services under the RBI and alongside this, 387 towers will be upgraded nationwide by June 2017.
“The contract we signed with Vodafone allowed co-located operators to install their own equipment on the towers to provide their own mobile or broadband services,” Adams adds.
“This agreement has been very successful, with approximately four out of every five new cell towers hosting a mix of competing operators.
“Improved connectivity reduces the geographic and social isolation of people living and working in rural communities, and for those travelling through these areas.”
Countries from all over the world have reached an agreement
concerning combined efforts to curb climate change by limiting greenhouse gas
emissions. The agreement came in two
parts: firstly to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius and, secondly,
to hold governments to account for reaching that target.
Developed countries agreed to raise $100b (USD) a year by
2020 to help developing countries transform their economies in expectation of
climate change effects. Countries will also be legally required to meet every
five years, starting in 2023, to report on their efforts to reduce emissions.
The deal also sends a clear message to business leaders to
help trigger a shift away from fossil fuels and motivate further investments in
renewable energy. The International Investors Group on Climate Change, a
network managing £13tn of assets, said “Investors across Europe will now have
the confidence to do much more to address the risks arising from high carbon
assets and to seek opportunities linked to the low carbon transition already
transforming the world’s energy system and infrastructure.”
“This is truly a historic moment,” the United Nations
secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said in an interview. “For the first time, we
have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial
problems on earth.”
The deal isn’t without criticism. Scientists who have
analysed the deal say it will cut emissions by half of what is needed to
prevent a 2 degree increase in global temperatures, the point at which studies
have concluded the world will face significant sea level rise, an increase in
extreme weather patterns and widespread food and water shortages.
However, at the same time, the combined efforts of world
leaders, who had spent the last few weeks in Paris reaching this agreement, can
be said to signal a fundamental shift in combating climate change. It has taken
20 years to reach this point and while it might not be the final solution
needed, none can argue it is at least a few steps in the right direction.