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New Zealand releases Quarterly Connectivity Report for 2Q

New Zealand’s latest Quarterly Connectivity Report provides information on the progress of the Government-backed connectivity programmes.

These programmes are:

  1. Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) roll-out
  2. Phase Two of the Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme
  3. Provincial Growth Fund marae digital connectivity programme

It shows that more than 90,000 households and businesses gained access to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) in the three months from April to June this year.

As reported, the increase in UFB coverage is equivalent to a city the size of Wellington and brings the total number of households and businesses connected to UFB to 1,576,189.

The Ultra-Fast Broadband programme

The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme is the urban broadband scheme deploying fibre-to-the-premises to 87% of the population by 2022.

The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi shared that with 110 UFB cities and towns now complete, the build is now 85% and still ahead of schedule.

On completion of the programme in 2022, there will be over 1.8 million homes and businesses in New Zealand with access to UFB.

In the latest quarter, there were 55,336 new connections, which make the national uptake of UFB to 52%. This is much higher than original forecasts.

Additionally, there are an impressive number of towns with uptake over 60%.

UFB has provided a 153% increase in the number of gigabit connections, which is the fastest product on the UFB network.

Broadband coverage in rural areas has also increased.

There are now approximately 38,000 households and businesses, in hard to reach regions of New Zealand, which now have access to improved broadband.

The increased investment into the regions shows the commitment to closing the digital divide to ensure all New Zealanders who want it, have connectivity.

The Rural Broadband Initiative programme

The Rural Broadband Initiative programme (RBI2) has provided 38,662 rural homes and businesses with access to improved broadband, which is 45% of the overall target.

25 mobile towers have been deployed, with 238 kilometres of mobile coverage now available on state highways.

That is enabling better online farm management, improvement in farm security in isolated areas, and better education access for rural students, among other things.

The Mobile Black Spots programme

The Mobile Black Spots (MBSF) programme provides mobile coverage to improve safety on state highways and enhance visitor experience at key tourist destinations.

Under the programme, mobile coverage is being deployed to state highway ‘blackspots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage.

This aims to support public safety in high traffic areas where there are high incident rates.

It is also being deployed to tourism locations around New Zealand where there is currently no mobile coverage to support tourism and economic growth.

There are now 26 tourism sites and 238 kilometres of state highway that have improved coverage from all three mobile operators.

When work on RBI2 and MBSF is completed by 2023, and combined with completion of the UFB roll-out, New Zealand will have broadband coverage to 99.8% of the population.

The availability of improved broadband and mobile coverage can make a huge difference for urban and rural households alike, for businesses across regions, and for safety on state highways.

The PGF Marae Digital Connectivity programme

The PGF Marae Digital Connectivity programme was announced on 4 February 2019.

It enables marae to receive a grant-funded broadband connection and associated hardware to enable use of the connection, thereby creating marae ‘digital hubs’.

These hubs support communities to undertake economic activity and enhance their digital capability.

The marae or meeting grounds is the focal point of Māori communities throughout New Zealand.

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