Broadband and mobile programmes

The Ultra-Fast Broadband Programme, Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spot Fund are delivering improved broadband and mobile services to New Zealanders.

RBI2 and MBSF Expansion Announcement, December 2018

In December 2018, the Government announced significant additional rural broadband and mobile coverage will be deployed around the country over the next four years as a result of the expansion of the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two (RBI2) and the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) programme.

Contracts totalling around $130 million are in place to provide improved broadband to target around 10,000 rural households and businesses, and new mobile coverage to target approximately 365 kilometres of state highway and 59 tourism areas.

Read more about the RBI2 and MBSF expansion on Crown Infrastructure Partners’ website(external link)

August 2017 package

In August 2017 the Government announced a $270 million communications infrastructure package to further extend these programmes and speed up Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) deployment.

It allocated $130 million to extend UFB to around 190 new towns and fast-track UFB deployment by 2 years. The aim is to complete the UFB rollout nationwide by the end of 2022.

Up to $140 million has been allocated to the second phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF). Improved rural broadband will be extended to more than 70,000 New Zealand households and businesses, and around 1,000 kilometres of state highways and more than 100 tourist areas will receive new mobile coverage.

This extra funding is on top of the $150 million previously allocated for the second phase of RBI and MBSF.

More information about the 2017 package:

Communications Infrastructure Package questions and answers [PDF 505KB](external link)

Coverage by region for new programme

Coverage and timetable for Ultra-fast Broadband

Coverage for Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spot

Ultra-Fast Broadband

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.

As of August 2017, 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.

Crown Infrastructure Partners' website(external link)

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 are among approximately 70% of New Zealanders who can already access UFB, or if UFB will be rolled out in your area soon. The map also provides details of who to contact if you are interested in upgrading your internet services.

National Broadband Map(external link)

Planned UFB deployment

The Quarterly Broadband Update below shows how the build is progressing nationally and in each region.

Quarterly Broadband Update

UFB coverage by region [PDF 110KB](external link)

Find out when UFB deployment is scheduled to be completed in each place [PDF 471KB](external link)

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 is occurring in phases.

Phase 1 deployment

Phase 1 was completed in June 2016 and has provided new or improved broadband to over 300,000 rural households and businesses

Chorus upgraded over 1200 cabinets, which has allowed over 110,000 households and businesses to access improved fixed line broadband.

Vodafone partnered with the Crown to build over 150 new rural towers (and upgrade almost 400 existing towers) to provide fixed wireless broadband. You can purchase this service either from Vodafone or from several partners that wholesale the service from Vodafone:

Over 1000 schools, and 39 hospitals and health centres can access fibre broadband.

Read how the first phase of RBI improved connectivity in your region:

Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 1 [PDF, 4.3 MB] 

Phase 2 deployment

The second phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2) is extending high-speed broadband to more than 70,000 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.

RBI2 and MBSF coverage map [PDF 3.4MB](external link)

View RBI2 (and MBSF) coverage by region list [PDF 113KB](external link)

Mobile Black Spot Fund

The Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) is providing greater mobile coverage on approximately 1000 kilometres of state highway and in over 100 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.

RBI2 and MBSF coverage map [PDF 3.4MB](external link)

View the list of state highways in line to receive coverage under the MBSF [PDF 113KB](external link)

View the list of tourism locations in line to receive coverage under the MBSF [PDF 226KB](external link)

What mobile coverage is currently available

Mobile coverage currently covers areas where over 95% of New Zealanders live and work. However, our geographic coverage is currently 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.