Story image

Spark invests $14m in rapid 4G rollout in rural Canterbury

14 Dec 15

Spark New Zealand has sped up its rollout of fast 4G wireless technology in the rural Canterbury region.

The company has been working with local councils to support Canterbury’s Regional Economic Development Strategy and provide rural residents and farmers access to better, faster broadband and mobile data services.

Spark is investing $14 million in an accelerated programme to ensure within the next 12 months Spark’s 4G services will cover 96% of the places rural Cantabrians live and work. Previously, this rollout was expected to take at least three years. 

Traditional ADSL modems connected via a copper phone line will be replaced with new fixed-wireless broadband technology that runs on Spark’s 4G cellular network.   

This will benefit thousands of residents, enabling Canterbury businesses to utilise new technologies such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and allowing farmers to do things like soil monitoring and irrigation management or tracking herd movements via remote mobile devices.

For several months’ Spark and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum have been working to decide how Spark can best help deliver better digital connectivity for Canterbury residents and businesses.

Digital connectivity, in particular fast broadband across rural areas, is one of seven key work programmes supporting the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy (CREDS), launched in August this year.

All Canterbury councils have agreed to work with Spark on design and consenting issues associated with the 4G rollout, to ensure mobile cell tower site acquisition and consenting processes will be as fast and efficient as possible.

Simon Moutter, Spark managing director, says Canterbury will be the first region where Spark has committed to an accelerated, intensive rollout of 4G services in collaboration with local councils.

He says, “We’ve been impressed by the way all the councils across the Canterbury region are working together on economic development, so we worked with the Canterbury Mayoral Forum on how we might do things differently to help unleash the potential of Canterbury.”

According to Moutter, “This development will be a huge step change for Canterbury. For most rural customers, it will mean for the first time they can get urban broadband performance at close to urban broadband pricing levels – delivered via 4G wireless rather than a physical copper or fibre connection.

“We’re talking of download speeds ranging from well above 20 to up to 135 megabits per second – compared with traditional copper line broadband which for many people in remote areas only delivers speeds of under 2 megabits – and that’s on a good day! 

“That’s the difference between several people watching streaming internet videos or surfing the net off the same modem at once, and someone struggling even to open a website page.”

Dame Margaret Bazley, Canterbury Mayoral Forum chair, says, “[This] announcement represents an early, positive outcome from the Mayoral Forum’s Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.

“It’s a great example of how by working together and by collaborating with the private sector, councils across the region can deliver real benefits for the people of Canterbury.”

TCS collaborates with Red Hat to build digital transformation solutions
“By leveraging TCS' technology skills to build more secure, intelligent and responsive solutions, we aim to deliver superior end-user experiences."
Twitter suspects state-sponsored ties to support forum breach
One of Twitter’s support forums was hit by a data breach that may have ties to a state-sponsored attack, however users' personal data was exposed.
How McAfee aims to curb enterprise data loss
McAfee DLP aims to help safeguard intellectual property and ensure compliance by protecting sensitive data.
HPE promotes 'circular economy' for end-of-use tech
HPE is planning to show businesses worldwide that throwing old tech and assets into landfill is not the best option when it comes to end-of-use disposal.
2018 sees 1,500% increase in coinmining malware - report
This issue will only continue to grow as IoT forms the foundation of connected devices and smart city grids.
CSPs ‘not capable enough’ to meet 5G demands of end-users
A new study from Gartner produced some startling findings, including the lack of readiness of communications service providers (CSPs).
Oracle announces a new set of cloud-native managed services
"Developers should have the flexibility to build and deploy their applications anywhere they choose without the threat of cloud vendor lock-in.”
How AT&T aims to help businesses recover faster from a disaster
"Companies need to be able to recover and continue operations ASAP, without pulling resources from other places to get back up and running."