We have been working hard on exciting new initiatives to continuously improve the performance of our rural network and provide internet connectivity that exceeds customer expectations.
These initiatives fall into two main groups: (1) upgrading and/or optimising the performance of sites, and (2) deploying the next generation of technologies.
Site upgrades and optimisation
Lightwire’s rural network comprises over 200 rural broadband towers (sites) across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Upgrading sites is an integral part of our maintenance and service delivery programme. Each site is reviewed periodically to ensure there is sufficient backhaul (data pipe into the site) and access (antenna that Lightwire CPEs connect to). Small adjustments to site antennas help to maximise signal strength for customer connections, while minimising the impact of interference from other sources, such as other sites and cities.
We are focusing on upgrading sites that Lightwire acquired with the purchase of NetSmart in June 2016. We recently upgraded all [formally-NetSmart] sites in the Waihi region, which has greatly improved customers’ connections there. Over the last month we have upgraded the backhaul into the area which will have further improved customer connections.
At present, we are upgrading sites in the Bay of Plenty including Minden, Ohauiti, Shaw Road, Pukehina, Katikati, and in the Waikato including, Kakepuku Mountain, Hillside East (Taupri) and Rotoorangi.
Next Generation Technologies
Almost five years ago, we refreshed all the access equipment (hardware) across our entire rural network and customers saw a dramatic improvement in their internet experience. This equipment has served us well, and we are now looking to the next technology refresh so we can continue to offer best of class services into the future.
At present, we use Ubiquiti equipment for customer access. However, we are excited by the service offered by another player in the market, Cambium. Cambium’s technology has a number of innovative features to improve performance and help to minimise interference from other sources.
The other nice advantage with Cambium technology is that it provides a platform for us to upgrade all our WiMax equipment, which is deployed across the network we acquired from NetSmart. WiMax has reached the end of its useful life and, in many cases, it is operating at full capacity.
We have been trialling Cambium technology over the last months, focusing on areas where we have been experiencing performance issues on the production network. Results are very promising and exciting.
Although there will be a lot of work involved to roll out next generation technology across our rural network, we are fully committed to continuously improving our network so our customers can have fast, reliable internet and plenty of data