8 Jun 2015

Vodafone expands rural broadband efforts

5:26 pm on 8 June 2015

Telecommunications company Vodafone is expanding its cell phone and broadband network into rural areas.

no caption

Vodafone and Chorus (pictured) are the leading network providers under the government's rural broadband roll-out. Photo: RNZ

As part of its new Rural Connect brand, announced today, it will be expanding ultra-fast 4G coverage to 20 more rural communities over the next year.

Vodafone, along with Chorus, are the leading network providers under the government's rural broadband roll-out.

Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams said usage of its rural network, through wireless broadband, had almost doubled in the past six months as new technology became more accessible

"Our rural broadband network has rolled out ahead of the government schedule, so we're pretty pleased with where it's got to," he said.

"But what we're really doing, with this announcement of these 20 additional towns and areas covered, is to upgrade that network, so that we're providing the super-fast 4G network in those areas.

"At the moment, we're delivering just over eight megabits per second in the rural broadband connections. With 4G across the country, we typically deliver around about 30 megabits per second.

"Now that will vary a little bit, depending on how close you are to the cell sites, but it gives you a sense of the speed that we'll be delivering to rural New Zealand.

"In addition to the network, we are also launching our 700 MHz L700 mobile network service as well... This will give us extra coverage into those rural areas."

Mr Williams said Rural Connect included a bundle of new services for farmers, such as online farming financial management from Figured and Xero, and farm vehicle tracking and safety technology from Blackhawk Tracking Systems.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs