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.”
The PITA 20th AGM started its activities from the morning of 25 April 2016 with the PITA CEOs forum followed by an informal Meet & Greet forum by the MINISTERS & LEADERS from the Pacific attending the event and who are responsible for Telecommunications.
Later in the afternoon, with a packed full house for the opening session, the President of French Polynesia and Minister of Telecommunications, his Excellency Edouard Tereori Fritch welcomed everyone, congratulated PITA on its 20 years of critical roles and relevance for the Pacific Islands, delivered the ICT report and developments in French Polynesia and spoke on the need for all to work together for the common challenges and opportunities, before formally opening the the PITA 20th AGM
Over 300 delegates attended from Pacific & Oceania countries, developed countries from US, Asia and as far as Europe and Middle East continents. The PITA 20th AGM is kindly hosted by the OPT French Polynesia and held at the Intercontinental Hotel TAHITI