The Government has begun a tender process for its $300 million rural broadband plan.
Expressions of interest opened on Thursday and close on 31 May. The Government expects to start the second stage in August.
Communications Minister Steven Joyce says tenderers will be expected to provide fibre connections to at least 93% of rural schools, and meet the needs of rural broadband users for the foreseeable future.
Mr Joyce says he expects interested players to include telecommunication infrastructure and wholesale bandwidth providers, lines companies, and community organisations in partnership with investment partners and technology suppliers.