Chorus has announced the completion of a 250km infrastructure project set to provide the West Coast with upgraded and enhanced telecommunications.
The project comes as the result of government funding from Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP), which has enabled Chorus and the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) to provide modern connectivity to one of New Zealand's remotest regions.
There is said to be a significant lack of diverse fibre routes in the region, with much of the existing infrastructure being particularly vulnerable to weather and outages. The West Coast currently relies heavily on two fibre optic cables connecting the region via SH6 from Nelson to Greymouth, with another cable passing through Arthurs Pass from Christchurch to Greymouth.
As part of the project, Chorus laid 250km of fibre between Fox Glacier and Haast and then through to Lake Hawea through subcontractors Ventia and Electronet.
Chorus' GM customer and network operations Andrew Carroll says this will provide additional security, protection and service for customers, making it easier for remote communities to access telecoms.
"West Coasters from Fox Glacier to Haast can now have peace of mind that their broadband and phone service has an additional layer of protection from outages," he says.
"The new diversity in Chorus' network will provide additional peace of mind against future network damaging weather events on the West Coast. We are incredibly proud to have this vital piece of infrastructure completed for the West Coast."
The township of Haast currently has about 90 homes and businesses that are in a fibre-ready area and can now order fibre from their chosen retail provider. Carroll says this is a great step in connecting remote communities.
"Making fibre available to residents in Haast was a uniquely Kiwi initiative; it sees residents in one of the remotest towns in New Zealand having access to one of the fastest broadband technologies available," he says.
The new build also enables the Rural Connectivity Group to build 16 new mobile cell sites with robust fibre backhaul providing resilience across the West Coast.
Chorus says having 16 new RCG cell sites, in addition to the 26 sites already operational on the West Coast, will enable thousands of residents and visitors to the area to benefit from 4G mobile services in their homes as well as covering over 130km of state highways and 14 tourist locations.
"Our collaboration with CIP and Chorus is key to the success of connecting 16 RCG sites to this critical fibre backbone," says RCG chief executive John Proctor.
"Our teams are bringing modern services to remote places visited by thousands of visitors each year and where locals depend on the agricultural and tourism industries and want to provide the best experience possible."