Broadband and mobile programmes
Government-led connectivity programmes such as the Ultra-Fast Broadband Programme, Rural Broadband Initiative Mobile Black Spot Fund, Rural Capacity Upgrades Programme and Remote Users Scheme are delivering improved broadband and mobile services to New Zealanders.
The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme is one of the largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in New Zealand. It will see around 87% of New Zealanders, in over 390 towns and cities, able to access fibre by the end of 2022.
Almost $1.8 billion has been invested in UFB infrastructure to ensure as many New Zealanders as possible can experience the social and economic benefits of faster broadband.
Crown Infrastructure Partners (previously Crown Fibre Holdings) was established as a Crown company initially to manage the Government’s investment in UFB. More information is available on Crown Infrastructure Partners' website.
How UFB works
UFB uses fibre optic cables to deliver fibre-to-the-premises. It is most suitable in urban areas with higher population densities. It is superior to the copper technology that was rolled out in New Zealand over the last century.
UFB users can access speeds of close to 1,000 Megabits per second. This allows them to use business applications to improve productivity, access educational and entertainment content and a whole range of other benefits.
When you will get UFB
The UFB build is occurring in phases, with the nationwide rollout being completed by the end of 2022.
Check out the National Broadband Map to see if you can access UFB. The map also provides details of who to contact if you are interested in upgrading your internet services.
Rural Broadband Initiative
It is not cost-effective to provide UFB in every rural community. Instead, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is providing faster internet to hundreds of thousands of rural homes and businesses outside UFB areas.
New Zealand’s telecommunications networks are generally owned and operated by private network operators. In rural and remote areas where the network operators have not previously invested in coverage, grant funding from an industry levy has been used – the Telecommunications Development Levy.
The Levy recognised that intervention was required to ensure rural and remote areas of New Zealand have access to fast broadband and mobile services. Over $430 million in grant funding from the Telecommunications Development Levy has been allocated to RBI, to ensure that more New Zealanders can experience the benefits of improved connectivity.
When you can get rural broadband under RBI
The RBI build has occurred in 2 phases.
Phase 1 deployment (completed)
Phase 1 was completed in June 2016 and provided new or improved broadband to over 300,000 rural households and businesses
Chorus upgraded over 1200 cabinets, which allowed over 110,000 households and businesses to access improved fixed line broadband.
Over 1000 schools, and 39 hospitals and health centres can access fibre broadband.
Read about the first phase of RBI improved connectivity:
Phase 2 deployment (in progress)
The second phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2) is extending high-speed broadband to more than 84,000 households and businesses in rural and remote areas.
The programme seeks to:
- provide fast broadband to the greatest number of under-served rural homes and businesses within the funding available
- contribute towards achieving similar rates of access to fast broadband by rural end users across all regions of New Zealand.
Alongside this programme, other rural broadband options are available from private network operators.
Crown Infrastructure Partners is managing the contractual arrangements for RBI2. For more information, please visit:
Rural Broadband Initiative phase two (RBI2)(external link) — Crown Infrastructure Partners
The deployment schedule and coverage information for RBI2 is available on the National Broadband Map:
Mobile Black Spot Fund
The Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) is providing greater mobile coverage on approximately 1,400 kilometres of state highways and in over 168 tourism locations where no coverage currently exists.
The programme will have a direct impact on public safety, by providing greater mobile coverage on stretches of state highway. It will also enhance visitor experiences by providing new coverage in tourism locations.
Crown Infrastructure Partners is managing the contractual arrangements for the MBSF.
For the up-to-date information about MBSF coverage, please visit:
Where is Mobile Black Spot Coverage?(external link) — Crown Infrastructure Partners
What mobile coverage is currently available
Mobile coverage currently covers areas where over 95% of New Zealanders live and work. However, our geographic coverage was sitting at around 50%.
Deployment under MBSF is expected to increase geographic mobile coverage by 20-30%, up from 50%.
Mobile and broadband coverage in New Zealand is provided by private network operators. New Zealand’s 3 mobile network operators each publish an online coverage map, showing where you can expect to receive mobile coverage on their networks:
All 3 established mobile operators – 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone – will be able to access the MBSF sites, which means that all mobile customers will be able to share in the benefits of this improved coverage regardless of their chosen provider.
Rural Capacity Upgrades
In February 2022, the Government announced the formal commencement of a $47 million package of investments to bolster the capacity in wireless networks in rural areas which is expected to benefit up to 47,000 rural households and businesses as a Rural Capacity Upgrade (RCU). Work is in progress on new towers and upgrades to existing towers (and some fibre backhaul) to improve network performance in rural areas.
The initiative has now expanded to include (up to) an additional 26,000 households and businesses with $43 million from Budget 2022.
Remote Users Scheme
The Remote Users Scheme was launched in November 2022.
This Scheme aims to equip as many rural and remote New Zealanders as possible with the connectivity infrastructure needed to access broadband services where they live.
Eligible households and communities in New Zealand’s most remote areas - where broadband is not currently available and there is only access to voice calling and text services – can apply for connectivity support.
The Scheme is also available in rural areas where internet download speeds are very slow and the household is not covered by any other government connectivity programme.
Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) is administering the Remote Users Scheme. Further information about the Scheme and how to apply is available on CIP’s website:
Remote Users Scheme (RUS)(external link) — Crown Infrastructure Partners