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Rural schools now have full access to completed Rural Broadband Initiative

09 Jun 16

Chorus has now finished its five-year project for the Government's Rural Broadband Initative (RBI), the company announced at a celebration in Waitomo today, alongside Communications Minister Amy Adams.

The RBI aimed to provide better, faster broadband to rural New Zealanders, including homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and health institutions.

The RBI programme laid more than 3500km of fibre cable across the country to more than 110,000 homes, more than 1000 schools and 39 hospitals. It also installed or fixed more than 1200 broadband cabinets.

“Chorus’ key target of connecting all rural schools is particularly satisfying, as this will result in a major long-term benefit to the nation, and we are particularly pleased to observe the strong take up of fibre by schools across the country,” Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe says.

Rural residents and business could previously achieve speeds of between 1-5Mbps, which were prone to slowdowns at peak times. Chorus reports that speeds should now operate between 10-20Mbps, with those closer to a broadband cabinet able to achieve better and more consistent speeds.

Chorus says that those within around 1km of a cabinet should access VDSL of over 50Mbps, the fastest speeds over its network.

“There are changing consumer needs when it comes to broadband, both for households and businesses and the RBI has been an integral part of meeting this change. People have higher expectations of broadband performance as our usage behaviour changes and the internet becomes integral to every aspect of life," Ratcliffe says.

“Typically, homes now have several connected devices at any one time, so we are all using far more data and many of us are demanding faster and more reliable broadband speeds to stream or download high definition TV and video," Ratcliffe continues.

Chorus is now focusing on improving more broadband cabinets in rural areas, with another 140 to be upgraded by the end of this month and more before the end of 2016.

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