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Ultra-fast broadband plans around the Coromandel

28 December 2017

Thames is the first cab off the rank for ultra-fast broadband, with the CBD area now ready to connect to the new Chorus fibre network. Internet users in this area should be receiving information from their service provider offering an upgrade to fast broadband delivered over fibre, instead of the slower copper telephone line.

(Photo above: Chorus has been at work installing UFB fibre in Thames since July 2017 and will have the entire town done by May 2018.)

Thames is the first cab off the rank for ultra-fast broadband, with the CBD area now ready to connect to the new Chorus fibre network. Internet users in this area should be receiving information from their service provider offering an upgrade to fast broadband delivered over fibre, instead of the slower copper telephone line.

The work is part of the Government's Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, to install fibre to the premises of 87 percent of New Zealanders by the end of 2022.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie says this is great news for Thames.

“Fantastic! Hello world. This is better than rocket fuel for our district,” she says.

“We are incredibly excited about the difference for doing business and keeping in touch.”

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.

Fibre provides a reliable, consistent experience even at the busiest time of day. With a dedicated line, it isn’t just about getting things done online much faster. It’s about multiple people being able to do everything they like online, all at the same time.

Chorus Network Strategy Manager Kurt Rogers says: “UFB has the potential to transform New Zealand’s economy, our communities, and the way we connect to the rest of the world, so we are really looking forward to seeing how the Thames community can take advantage of having world-class connectivity right on their door step."

While Chorus provides the technology, it does not sell broadband plans directly and instead works with phone and broadband service providers to get people connected.

Once Chorus has built the fibre network down the street, orders for a fibre connection can be placed with a chosen broadband provider. The broadband provider then guides people through ordering, installation and their monthly plans and charges, as well as any other costs that may apply. The broadband providers process the order and send it to Chorus to carry out the connection and installation work.

The build for all of Thames is due to be completed by June 2018.

Go to www.broadbandcompare.co.nz to find a plan that is right for you and if you can’t wait for fibre go to www.askforbetter.co.nz to see if you are getting the best broadband that you possibly can.

Broadband banner

Other towns in the Coromandel to have UFB:

Thames is the first of 14 communities in our district to have fibre installed. Next up is Te Puru, where the fibre build will begin in July 2018. Chorus hasn't published the schedule for the other communities, but the work is planned to be completed by the end of 2022.

The other communities are:

  • Waiomu
  • Tapu
  • Coromandel Town
  • Matarangi
  • Whangapoua
  • Kuaotunu
  • Whitianga
  • Ferry Landing/Cooks Beach
  • Hahei
  • Tairua-Pauanui
  • Whangamata
  • Matatoki

In communities such as Whitianga, which is to undergo a major town centre upgrade after Easter 2018, Chorus will work with our contractors to lay ducting while the upgrade is taking place to ensure that when it comes time to install fibre, 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 and we lobbied for our larger communities to be selected. Earlier this year, the Government announced an expansion of the programme to include more communities and an accelerated works schedule.

Parts of the Coromandel will also benefit from Phase Two of the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and the Mobile Black Spots Fund.

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.

The Rural Connectivity Group

Hot Water Beach

(Photo: Hot Water Beach has been growing in popularity and is promoted internationally to visitors; however, there are gaps in internet connectivity and network coverage.)

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 as it is an internationally promoted tourism hot spot.

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

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

www.tcdc.govt.nz/rbi