Story image

Spark supports next phase of Rural Broadband Initiative for Kiwis

27 Oct 2016

New Zealand telco Spark has welcomed the next phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) that’s just been unveiled.

Communications Minister Amy Adams announced that a Request for Proposals has been issued to extend the RBI and provide mobile coverage to black spots on state highways and in tourist areas.

John Wesley-Smith, GM of Spark says the company looks forward to the next phase.

“We welcome this decision, and we're looking forward to working our way through the details and working with Government, community stakeholders and other telecommunications network operators to identify how the Government's RBI and Mobile Black Spot Fund can be best directed to improve ultra-fast broadband availability in rural New Zealand,” he says.

Improved broadband and mobile services for rural New Zealand will grow regional economies and boost tourism in key destinations, according to Adams.

“Around 293,000 rural New Zealanders are accessing better broadband under the first phase of our RBI programme. This next stage sees an investment of $150 million to extend coverage to even more New Zealanders,” she says.

“My aim is to provide high-speed broadband to the greatest number of under-served rural New Zealanders within the funding available, and give regional communities access to high-speed broadband.

We also want to improve the reach of mobile services to support safety on State Highways and enhance the visitor experience fr tourists.”

Under the RBI Extension, improved broadband will be delivered to communities that don’t currently have access to broadband speeds of at least 20 Megabits per second.

The Mobile Black Spot Fund will improve the availability of mobile services to areas which do not have coverage from any mobile operator.

Adams says there are more than 200 mobile black spots noted in the RFP for potential inclusion it’s important to understand that not all those locations will get coverage..

"We identified a long list of mobile black spots to guide respondents to highway zones and tourism areas without mobile coverage,” she explains.

“The areas finally selected from this list will be as a result of negotiations in the course of the RFP process.”

The programmes will work towards contributing to the Government’s aspirational targets for rural broadband.

“We’ve set an ambitious goal of ensuring that by 2025, 99 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to broadband peak speeds of at least 50Mbps, and everyone will have at least 10Mbps,” says Adams.

It’s expected the first contracts will be awarded by June next year.

“This is a unique opportunity for national and regional providers to partner with the Government to deliver increased connectivity and improved services to rural communities,” she explains.

“I encourage network operators regardless of size to put their hand up and be part of this proposal."

Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
NZ investment funds throw weight against social media giants
A consortium of NZ funds managing assets worth more than $90m are appealing against Facebook, Twitter, and Google following the Christchurch terror attacks.
Poly appoints new A/NZ managing director, Andy Hurt
“We’re excited to be bringing together two established pioneers in audio and video technology to be moving forward and one business – Poly."
Unity and NVIDIA announce real-time ray tracing across industries
For situations that demand maximum photorealism and the highest visual fidelity, ray tracing provides reflections and accurate dynamic computations for global lighting.
NVIDIA announces Jetson Nano: A US$99 tiny, yet mighty AI computer 
“Jetson Nano makes AI more accessible to everyone, and is supported by the same underlying architecture and software that powers the world's supercomputers.”
Slack doubles down on enterprise key management
EKM adds an extra layer of protection so customers can share conversations, files, and data while still meeting their own risk mitigation requirements.
NVIDIA introduces a new breed of high-performance workstations
“Data science is one of the fastest growing fields of computer science and impacts every industry."
Apple says its new iMacs are "pretty freaking powerful"
The company has chosen the tagline “Pretty. Freaking powerful” as the tagline – and it’s not too hard to see why.