Broadband on the Coromandel

On this page find how out how our Council is working with the Government's Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) to stimulate major economic development opportunities for the Coromandel.

Broadband banner

Our bid for better broadband

So far this year, the Government has announced that 14 Coromandel Peninsula communities have been selected for the installation of Ultra-Fast Broadband fibre cable. This will give households and businesses the potential to connect to much faster broadband than is currently available.

In January, the Government said Thames, Whangamata, Tairua-Pauanui, Whitianga, Coromandel Town and Te Puru would have UFB installed by 2024. These communities, with the exception of Te Puru, were in our Council's bid for the extension of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme.

Thames is the first cab off the rank with the installation beginning in July 2017 and the other communities are to follow progressively over the following years.

In August, Communications Minister Simon Bridges announced that Ferry Landing/Cooks Beach, Hahei, Kuaotunu, Matarangi, Matatoki, Tapu, Waiomu and Whangapoua would also have UFB installed and that the entire build programme throughout New Zealand would be complete by 2022 instead of 2024. Parts of the Coromandel will also benefit from Phase Two Government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and the Mobile Black Spots Fund.

See the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for more information on its faster broadband initiatives.

RBI Phase One brought faster broadband to quite a few areas of the Coromandel through a combination of fixed-line upgrades and new fixed wireless coverage, for example cellphone masts. The Government hasn't specified a specific technology for phase two, so these could more of what was delivered in phase one as well as wireless point-to-point radio links and 4G-based cellular radio technology.

The Government's August 2017 announcement did not specify which communities will receive improved rural broadband, but 70,000 rural households and businesses are the nationwide target, including more than 9,000 in the Waikato.

The Coromandel will benefit from the Mobile Black Spots Fund, which is intended to improve mobile phone coverage on sections of state highway and in more remote tourist areas. A section of the Kopu-Hikuai Road (SH25A) is slated to receive new mobile coverage as are the Coromandel Coastal Walkway and Port Charles.

For more on the Government's latest announcement, go to the Crown Fibre Holdings website. Crown Fibre Holdings Ltd is the Crown-owned company established to manage the Government's fast broadband programmes.  It has partnered with telecommunications companies such as Chorus, Spark, Vodafone and others to build the infrastructure.

The big picture

The Coromandel is an ideal place to live and work. In fact over 50% of our residents don't live full time on the Peninsula; many of our "non-permanent" population holiday here as well as work from home while they're away from the office - so they, like our permanent residents, really need good broadband speeds.

The Government has two programmes designed to provide fast broadband to 97.8% of New Zealanders: Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and the Rural-Broadband Initiative (RBI). More than $2 billion has been earmarked for these two programmes, including the $510m committed to the RBI and UFB programme extensions.

Chorus is in charge of delivering improvements to the fixed-line broadband infrastructure, and is in the process of updating its cabinets to accommodate fast internet speeds. Vodafone has the contracts in the Coromandel to upgrade or build new telecommunications towers that can deliver fast wireless broadband. Other Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Spark, co-locate on these towers for a charge to service their customers. A Hamilton-based company called Lightwire has its own system of towers in the Waikato that can deliver fast broadband in rural location and another firm, Farmside, offers a similar service.

"A new, faster broadband service is vital for our economic growth as it makes the Coromandel a much more attractive place to live and to work"

Progress update

Chorus fibre-fed cabinet upgrades

  • Tuateawa - 2016
  • Puriri - 2016
  • In or near Hot Water Beach and Kuaotunu - July 2015
  • Kopu (Queen St), Whenuakite and Hahei - March-April 2015

New Vodafone towers for the Coromandel to provide wireless broadband

  • Kauaeranga Valley - Went live April 2016
  • Kaiaua - went live in 2015. Improving coverage to Firth of Thames
  • Colville - April 2016
  • Preece Point, Coromandel Town - Went live in 2013
  • Te Puru - In process
  • Manaia - In process

Existing Vodafone towers that have been upgraded

Operational now:

  • Coromandel Town
  • Thames
  • Whitianga Central
  • Matarangi
  • Hahei
  • Pauanui South
  • Pauanui/Tairua

Future work programme

  • Onemana 

Lightwire wireless broadband

Hamilton-based firm Lightwire offers wireless broadband through their own system of towers. They have one at Kopu and another at Kaiaua, which may offer service to the Thames Coast. Lightwire says the range of their towers, depending on the terrain, is 20-25km, and they offer download speeds of 7-10Mbps.

Farmside wireless broadband

Another firm, Farmside, also offers wireless broadband, specialising in delivering that service to rural areas, including those with challenging topography. They offer wireless broadband and telephone packages.

Check your UFB and RBI coverage and upgrade to broadband

Find out if your place has RBI or UFB or when it will.

Check the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website for more details on UFB and RBI.

Check Chorus for more details on their fixed-line broadband upgrades and check Spark, Vodafone, Lightwire and  Farmside for their broadband coverage and to order a broadband plan, whether fixed-line or wireless, so you can spend more time at the bach working and playing from home!

"We also want our non-permanent population to be able to spend more time over here, and RBI will make it easier to have long weekends working remotely, while enjoying all the Coromandel has to offer"

Rural Schools

More than 700 rural schools in New Zealand will have new fibre optic cable connections putting them in reach of 100Mbps broadband speeds.  The new fibre-fed roadside cabinets brings the broadband equipment closer to rural residents and paves the way for some 40,000 rural homes and businesses across the country to access fixed-line broadband services for the first time. 

About half of the customers connected to the new cabinets and exchanges will be in reach of 10Mpbs broadband speeds or greater, because the closer you are to the broadband equipment the faster your broadband speeds will be.

What can affect broadband speeds:

  • Distance from the fibre-fed cabinet on the copper line to your home or business. Broadband can only be delivered over copper for about 5-6km from a fibre-fed exchange or cabinet.
  • Time of day - peak demand times mean slower download/upload speeds.
  • Broadband plan - check your provider for what your data allowance is - you may need to boost it.
  • Modem - older models won't deliver faster speeds, even if they're available in your area. Check your Internet Service Provider to confirm if your modem is an issue.
  • Wiring in your house or business premises. Older wiring was not installed to deliver good internet speeds. Consider adding filters to all jackpoints used to deliver phone-based services or consider a dedicated line from the street into yyour premises straight to where your modem is.
  • Hardware and software: older computers affect broadband performance. Regularly update your internet browser, clean out old software, delete cookies and internet browser history, update security software.
  • Using a Wi-Fi router can affect broadband speed, especially if your computer or device is far from the router and walls are in the way.