Rural Broadband Initiative phase one now complete, says Adams

RBI has connected 300,000 premises

Phase one of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is now complete, having connected 300,000 homes and businesses to high-speed broadband services. The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout has reached 1 million premises, communications minister Amy Adams saying

The minister today released the latest quarterly report on the UFB and RBI.

“Prior to our RBI build, only 20 per cent of rural lines were capable of speeds around 5Mbps,” Adams said. “RBI phase one increases this to 90 per cent of rural New Zealand households and businesses, and speeds are in fact well in excess of 5Mbps. Prior to the project, 30 of our rural schools had fibre – now 1034 do.”

Adams said Vodafone has completed the construction of the 154 new cellular network towers it committed to build to deliver rural broadband. A further 355 tower upgrades are now complete, and 32 remain to be upgraded. Chorus has upgraded 1242 cabinets which means over 110,000 rural lines can now access faster fixed broadband more than the original target of 103,000 rural lines.

“New towers have extended nationwide coverage by 6200 square kilometres, to cover a total 125,700 square kilometres of rural New Zealand,” Adams said.

More than 1 million households, businesses, schools and hospitals are now able to access UFB services.

“There are now more than 830 new households and businesses connected to fibre every working day – more than one every minute – as New Zealanders realise the benefits of the government’s investment in high-speed broadband,” Adams said.

The minister said nationwide uptake of UFB was just under 24 per cent and there were now 240,000 services in operation, a 22.4 per cent increase on the figure three months earlier. The build is now 68.2 per cent complete and uptake at 23.9 per cent.

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