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Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:55

Getting more out of the RBI rollout

Written by  Penny Hartill
The first phase of the government's rural broadband initiative is now complete. The first phase of the government's rural broadband initiative is now complete.

The first phase of the government's rural broadband initiative (RBI) is now complete.

This is great news to 300,000 households and businesses that now have access to faster, more reliable broadband. But, are you – the chosen ones – making the most of this new-found internet freedom?

If you're in range of one of the RBI project's new cell towers you can experience consistently fast broadband speeds. In the bad old days (i.e. before June this year) communities in these areas had speeds of only 1-5Mbps.

In real terms, this means you can now simultaneously connect a number of devices to the internet easily; and you can live stream movies and reliably use live-time apps for your milking or dry stock business.

Peak time internet use has always affected speeds in rural, and urban, New Zealand. We are assured that broadband speeds will now remain more consistent when lots of people are streaming online video, downloading their messages and reading the news.

It's easy to find out if you can connect to one of the 490 newly installed or upgraded towers by going to https://wirelessnation.co.nz/rural/products/rbi-broadband-coverage. The map on the site shows exactly what you'll be able to get access to – 3G, 4G or No Aerial (Wireless Nation's self-install option).

Wireless Nation can also give you some idea how far you are away from your nearest cell tower, which will affect your maximum download and uploading speeds.

At the start of the build, nationwide mobile coverage of NZ's land mass was at 38%. With the rollout of RBI, mobile coverage is now about 50% of the country's mass.

Mobile data usage in rural NZ is soaring; growth on just one network rose 270% between 2013 and 2015. At the same time there was a 106% increase in the number of rural connected devices. This is a result of customers' access to more reliable connectivity.

Once you and your family go online more often your usage may outgrow your current ISP data plan. But by paying a little more each month you can get a whole lot more data allowance.

Wireless Nation now has the best value RBI plan on the market, offering 80GB of data plus 50GB off-peak and a home phone line (includes free local and national calls) for $99.99 per month. You can usually self-install to connect and because the wireless signal is received straight from the modem, there's no need for an antenna on your roof.

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