There are a number of things that are often (sometimes unfairly) associated with ‘living out in the sticks’. Bad smells, bad fashion sense and bad communication coverage are all examples, although the latter may soon be a thing of the past under a new agreement between the Government and Vodafone.
“The new agreement means minimum peak broadband connection speeds under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) increase to at least 30 Megabits per second – six times the current speeds of 5Mbps,” says Communications Minister, Amy Adams. “On-peak data caps on 4G will increase over 150 per cent, which means rural users can take advantage of video streaming and more data intensive apps.”
Adams affirms that prior to the RBI project, rural communities throughout New Zealand were grappling with poor speeds.
“This agreement is great for rural New Zealanders, where reliable, fast internet is increasingly important for rural businesses, schools and lifestyles,” Adams says. “Fast Internet is as important on our farms and in our rural communities as it is in our cities. It’s excellent to see the Government’s investment in RBI, and its partnership with Vodafone, is continuing to increase the quality of rural connectivity.”
Vodafone has already upgraded 93 of the new RBI sites to 4G plus upgraded 220 existing sites that are providing 4G RBI services, covering around 172,000 homes, farms and businesses. Upon completion of the RBI program later this year, close to 300,000 rural addresses will have access to high speed wireless broadband, with over 60 percent having access to a 4G service.
“We are pleased to see that the significant advancements in fixed wireless broadband technology will be reflected in our RBI contract agreement with MBIE,” says Vodafone Technology Director, Tony Baird. “Global research and development in the fixed wireless space is rapid and ongoing, and Vodafone has the vision - and the technology roadmap - to take rural services further and faster still.”
The new service specifications for 4G-based RBI services include:
- Improved minimum speeds of 30/5 Mbps (up from 5/0.5 Mbps on 3G)
- Reduced latency of 100ms round trip (down from 2000ms on 3G)
- Increased minimum data caps of 80GB on-peak and 50GB off-peak (up from 30GB and 50GB on 3G)