Broadband rollout starts soon for rural Southland

Rural Southland will soon have access to faster internet and better cellphone coverage with a joint project between Vodafone and Telecom beginning in July.

The competing companies have teamed up to deliver the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) which aims to connect rural communities, schools and hospitals to fast broadband.

Under the scheme Vodafone and Chorus (the utility provider, a Telecom business) are required to deliver broadband of 5Mbps or better to 80 per cent of New Zealand's rural households.

They are aiming for 86 per cent of rural households and 93 per cent of rural schools within six years. Schools would have access to broadband speeds of 100 Mbps.

"A lot of areas that currently don't have broadband at all will get a faster solution. Almost every school in Southland will get an extremely fast connection," Vodafone chief strategy Officer Zac Summers said.

Vodafone would be upgrading 19 of its existing cell sites and building 10 more to expand and strengthen coverage. New cell sites would be built at Lumsden Central, Nightcaps, Stewart Island, Waikaia, Fortrose, Mt Prospect, Waimahaka, Lorneville, Tokanui and Centre Hill.

Vodafone will build towers to improve cell phone coverage and provide wireless broadband options for some homes. Telecom will build the fixed infrastructure and install the fibre connections.

Chorus general manager product management Chris Dyhrberg said in the future broadband and cell phone service could be available in 100 per cent of New Zealand.

"There is ultimately a solution for everyone," he said.


Year 1 – 33 schools, Tuatapere Maternity Hospital, 48km of fibre installed

Year 2 – Five schools, 113km of fibre

Year 3 – Four schools, 35km of fibre

Year 4 – One school, 11km of fibre

Year 5 – Nine km of fibre

The Southland Times