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Whangarei’s rural community is enjoying more broadband connections and faster internet speeds thanks to the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), says Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti.

“Whangarei District now has 6445 broadband connections, compared to 4455 before the RBI programme started. The average internet speed has increased by 150 per cent across the region,” says Dr Reti.

“Under the RBI programme, Vodafone has built or upgraded 17 towers, and Chorus has upgraded 75 lines in the area.

The RBI programme complements the wireless broadband services offered by local broadband provider Uber Group which has focussed on rural broadband since 2005, has its own privately owned network and will also offer RBI connections to its customers.

The Government has invested $300 million into RBI, enabling 300,000 rural households and businesses throughout New Zealand to access improved connectivity.

“This is delivering better broadband to remote areas of New Zealand and helps bring real benefits to our region.

“Faster broadband enables remote households to overcome isolation and helps them connect with their communities. It’s also revolutionising local agri-businesses by allowing companies and farmers to streamline their daily operations, and helps improve the way they promote their businesses.”

RBI is being rolled out in conjunction with the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, which is bringing better, faster broadband to towns like Whangarei.

“Together, these ground-breaking projects will bring improved internet to 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders by 2019. The Government continues to steam ahead with the broadband rollouts, reinforcing National’s commitment to supporting our rural communities,” says Dr Reti.

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