Rural broadband connectivity on the rise with latest RBI2 update

The Government’s latest Quarterly Connectivity Report shows an extra 38,662 rural households and businesses have improved rural broadband due to Crown Infrastructure Partner’s (COPI) Rural Broadband Initiative – Phase 2 (RBI2).

As CIP’s Waikato and Bay of Plenty Partners, Lightwire has been busily building new towers and upgrading existing ones throughout 2019, with 13 RBI2 sites visited in this year’s Q2 and 47 sites upgraded since 1 January 2019.

“We’re thrilled with these statistics,” says Mike Cook, Lightwire’s Head of Rural. “If rural New Zealand is to grow, these communities must have better internet coverage.”

“Better connection enables better online farm management, improvement in farm security in isolated areas, and better education access for rural students,” he says.

“Our team has really come together on this project and the number of rural families and communities with improved connection throughout New Zealand is a great thing.

“Lightwire’s staff have put in 1,658 man hours reaching RBI2 targets this year and it’s safe to say, they’ve done a fantastic job.”

Since the beginning of 2019, Lightwire’s network has welcomed 600 more connections, and with 18 further sites scheduled for upgrade by the end of the year, even more communities throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty will enjoy better connectivity.

“It’s particularly pleasing that the smaller Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) improved broadband coverage to approximately 1,500 rural households and businesses in the June quarter,” says Hon Kris Faafoi, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.

“We have heard a consistent message that rural New Zealand needs better and more widespread mobile coverage to support rural business growth, the farming and tourism sectors and rural safety.

“The increased investment into the regions shows our commitment to closing the digital divide to ensure all New Zealanders who want it, have connectivity,” says Mr Faafoi.

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