About the Rural Broadband Initiative
The Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is bringing better broadband to rural schools, health providers, some libraries and to date, over 72,000 rural phone lines.
" Distance is no longer a barrier to children going to rural schools. They will get up to 100Mbps access to the internet. "
Chorus and Vodafone are working together to deliver the Government's RBI programme which will see much of rural New Zealand getting improved broadband services.
Delivering better broadband to rural areas is challenging, with line distance and low population density making it difficult both technically and financially. This challenge was acknowledged by Government and RBI was conceived.
RBI pulls together several elements that mean 87% of rural New Zealand will get ADSL2+ or VDSL broadband. It incorporates copper, fibre and wireless networks to deliver better broadband. Where you live and work determines what solution is provided - either fixed line broadband (over the our copper and fibre networks) or fixed wireless broadband (over Vodafone's mobile network).
The main task for Chorus is laying fibre to rural schools, medical facilities and and some libraries, often to exchange areas where there isn’t fibre today.
We are installing around 1,200 fibre-fed cabinets to rural areas - meaning around 57% of rural New Zealand will have access to fixed line broadband. And over 30% of homes, farms and businesses supplied via our new cabinets can access a VDSL broadband service with speeds in excess of 20 Mbps. This is the fastest service over our existing copper network.
We are also delivering fibre to new Vodafone mobile sites that will be used to provide a fixed wireless broadband to rural communities.
We have made great progess. We are now well past the halfway mark in our rollout of fibre andhigh speed broadband cabinets. At 30 June 2014, a total of about 3,100km of fibre had been laid for the programme, with fibre extended to 951 schools. The rollout had also brought new or upgraded broadband coverage within reach of 72,000 rural lines and broadband uptake was approximately 80%.
The RBI numbers - by the end of the programme:
" As at June 2014 we had laid 3,100 km of fibre and brought 72,000 lines within reach of better broadband and 951 rural schools are able to connect to fibre. "
- Chorus is laying 3,350 km of fibre by the end of the programme in 2015
- We are installing or upgrading over 1,000 new broadband cabinets
- We are enabling over 40,000 lines in rural areas to access broadband services that had no previous access
- Connecting over 1,000 rural schools to fibre
- Connecting 154 new Vodafone cell sites to fibre
- 50 hospitals and integrated family health centres will have the benefit of 100Mbps fibre connections
- We are connecting 183 rural libraries to fibre
You can check what broadband services are currently available at your address using our Network Capability Map. This will also give you an indication of planned upgrades to improve your broadband services.
Technology and coverage of our RBI broadband
||% rural lines within reach
||Distance from cabinet/exchange
||up to 6km
||up to 2.4km
||around 20km but eligibility criteria applies
We are now offering fibre connections to eligible farms, businesses and homes. The key eligibility criteria is whether Chorus has deployed new duct infrastructure in which fibre has been deployed as part of RBI.
Eligible farms, businesses and homes will be able to connect enabling broadband speed of up to 100Mbps. You can check our Rural Fibre map which indicates where new infrastructure ducts have been deployed. Please contact a telecommunications service provider for more information including details of installation costs and plans.
We can't provide faster fixed line broadband to everyone in rural New Zealand
Distances and low population density means that we can't deliver faster fixed line broadband to all parts of New Zealand. This challenge was acknowledge by government in the Rural Broadband Initiative and Vodafone is partnering to deliver fixed wireless broadband to 86% of rural households.
We use a technology called Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to deliver broadband services over our copper network. Due to the resistence inherent in copper lines the maximum distance we can push a broadband signal is around five to six kilometres from the exchange or cabinet supplying the service.
The closer you are to the cabinet or exchange supplying your broadband services, the faster the speeds you experience. You can read more about distance and the challenge of delivering broadband over copper.
If you are within 800 metres of one of our fibre-fed cabinets you could get broadband speeds in excess of 20 Mbps, at 5-6 kilometres you are likely to get around 1 Mbps.
We regularly review our investment plans but our capital expenditure only stretches so far. If you are unhappy with your broadband speeds or can't get broadband at all there are some options:
- Check if you can access Vodafone's RBI fixed wireless broadband service
- There are a number of regional wireless broadband providers as well. Google your region and 'wireless broadband provider'.
- Consider a satellite broadband service. Farmside offers a satellite service to rural New Zealand.
- Work within your local community to identify opportunities created by the fibre connection to your school.
These shape files highlight the approximate broadband coverage areas for our Years 1 to 5 of our RBI rollout. While each RBI cabinet or exchange coverage area will highlight whether speeds of 1Mbps or 5Mbps are the expected attainable peak information rate, this is indicative information only and a formal prequalification check is required to confirm service availability.