Our bid for better broadband Fourteen Coromandel Peninsula communities have been selected for the installation of Ultra-Fast Broadband fibre cable, with the build starting in Thames in 2017 and then working progressively around the district in a clock-wise direction until scheduled completion in 2022. This will give households and businesses in these 14 communities the potential to connect to much faster broadband than is currently available. Telecommunications company Chorus has confirmed timings for its programme to roll out UFB across the country. Here's the schedule for our communities: Thames - completion scheduled for June 2018 Te Puru - completion scheduled for April 2019 Waiomu - completion scheduled for May 2020 Tapu - completion scheduled for March 2020 Coromandel Town - completion scheduled for January 2020 Matarangi - completion scheduled for October 2020 Whangapoua - completion scheduled for January 2020 Kuaotunu - completion scheduled for January 2020 Whitianga - completion scheduled for August 2020 Ferry Landing/Cooks Beach - completion scheduled for May 2021 Hahei - completion scheduled for September 2019 Tairua-Pauanui - completion scheduled for March 2022 Whangamata - completion scheduled for June 2021 Matatoki - completion scheduled for March 2020 Our Mayor Sandra Goudie welcomes the update and says it's good news for households and businesses in these areas, giving them potential to connect to much faster broadband than is currently available. "We would still like to have seen areas such as Hot Water Beach included on this list and we will continue to lobby for its inclusion because it's a huge visitor destination and needs to be given priority," Mayor Sandra says, "Faster broadband is important to meet anticipated growth in data consumption and to help stimulate economic development across the region." In communities such as Whitianga, which is to undergo a major town centre upgrade after Easter 2018, Chorus will work with our contractors to ensure that ducting is laid while the upgrade is taking place to ensure that when it comes time to install UFB recently laid concrete and tarmac are not dug up again. Our Council had to compete with every other council in New Zealand for consideration in the UFB programme to have UFB installed and we lobbied for our larger communities to be selected. In 2017, the Government announced more communities would be included and that the original build schedule would be accelerated. Parts of the Coromandel will also benefit from Phase Two of the 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 broadband plans, 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 Rural Connectivity Group The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) has been established to build the infrastructure required to deliver both rural broadband and mobile services to those rural communities that are currently without a service. The infrastructure built under the programme will be operated and maintained by the RCG, however, all retail services will be provided by the mobile network operators – Vodafone, Spark, 2degrees. The RCG is tasked with building a minimum of 400 new sites across rural New Zealand by 20 December 2022. With the help of rural land owners, Councils, Iwi, Doc, the Crown and anyone else willing to assist, the plan is to build many more sites than this. The RCG is very focused on taking the coverage as far as possible into rural NZ. The areas within our district that the RCG has identified as target areas are: Te Mata, Waitete Bay, Port Charles, Waitaia Bay, Kaimarama, Coroglen, Opoutere, Otama Beach, Kuaotunu, Kennedy Bay, Papa Aroha, Little Bay, Kopu and Tapu. Our Council is also urging the RCG to add Hot Water Beach to this list. Communities are encouraged to work with the RCG to see as many of these areas as possible provided with coverage. If you have ideas of how you can help please contact Caitlin.Metz@theRCG.nz UFB progress so far The map below shows the first part of the Thames CBD fibre build completed as of December 2017. Customers in this area will receive information from their internet provider offering upgrade to fibre. (Click on the maps to open a larger version) The next two maps show the final build coverage in Thames, including Kopu, and in Tararu. 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 service Te Puru - Went live in May 2016 Kauaeranga Valley - Went live April 2016 Manaia - Went live May 2016 Kaiaua - went live in 2015. Improving coverage to Firth of Thames Cooks Beach - Went live November 2015 Preece Point, Coromandel Town - Went live in 2013 Existing Vodafone towers that have been upgraded and provide RBI wireless broadband service Coromandel Town Thames Whitianga Central Matarangi Hahei Pauanui South Pauanui/Tairua Onemana Colville Opito Bay Port Jackson Whangamata Whangamata South Whitianga Township 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.