With a small population and a relatively large landmass, connecting the whole of New Zealand - an absolute necessity in this modern age - is not an easy task but has been a major priority of recent governments.
In August 2017 the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) was appointed to be the infrastructure provider to bring 4G mobile and wireless broadband coverage to less densely populated parts of New Zealand … with the inclusion of several hundred telecommunication monopoles and lattice towers manufactured by CSP Pacific.
RCG, an independent entity established to build the infrastructure shared by New Zealand’s three mobile network operators - Spark, Vodafone and 2 Degrees - will operate and maintain the new open access network. This government and industry collaboration will see New Zealand as the first country in the world where all three mobile network operators will share the radio access network equipment and one set of antennae on each facility built by the RCG. The retail services provided by the equipment will be the responsibility of the network operators. This unique funding model is the only way these modern services can be delivered further into rural New Zealand.
In partnership with Crown Infrastructure Partners RCG will deliver new mobile and wireless broadband coverage to at least 30,000 rural homes and businesses, provide mobile coverage to a further 1000 kilometres of state highways and provide connectivity to at least 100 top New Zealand tourist destinations … all by December 2022.
“RCG have entered an agreement with CSP Pacific to procure steel monopoles and guyed masts which will be used in the rollout of RCG’s new rural network to deliver the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 and Mobile Black Spots programme,” said Andrew Button, Executive Programme Director at RCG.
“The RCG programme is fully funded by the government and the three mobile network operators,” adds Andrew. “We have been tasked with building, operating and maintaining this new rural network but the RCG will never actually sell any services. The partnership with Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees is unprecedented in the telecommunications industry and those companies will provide competitive services to rural residents. Along with support from the government this allows the RCG to install infrastructure into truly remote parts of the country, areas that will have maybe 20 -25 residents spread over a wide area, which is why it is necessary for everyone to work together.”
“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to showcase our New Zealand manufactured telecommunication monopoles and lattice towers, so as to improve connectivity throughout some of the most beautiful but rural areas of New Zealand,” says Neil Watson, Head of CSP Pacific and Head of Marketing for Fletcher Steel. “It is great for CSP Pacific to be a part of a project that is not only aiding education in rural homes and growth in rural businesses, but also in keeping with our vision ‘Keeping NZ Safe’. This initiative will see areas, which previously had little or no telecommunication service, be connected, thus improving the wellbeing of communities and access to emergency services, particularly when New Zealanders and visitors to our country explore our wonderful, rugged rural areas.”
The first six monopoles were delivered in April with the next order due out in May. The range of monopoles and lattice towers span from 15m up to 40m. “The RCG project will keep our manufacturing team busy right up to 2022, as we work closely with RCG on the roll out,” says Neil.
This critical infrastructure project is funded by the government’s Telecommunications Development Levy, with an additional $75million provided by the three mobile network operators. Crown Infrastructure Partners will manage the distribution of funds to the Rural Connectivity Group.
For further information about the Rural Broadband Initiative 2 and the Mobile Black Spot Initiative
For more information on the Rural Connectivity Group click here.