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Current as of 09/12/16 07:39PM NZST
Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Big leap for rural broadband speeds, connections

The total number of rural connections has increased 73 per cent, according to Chorus figures. Photo / File
The total number of rural connections has increased 73 per cent, according to Chorus figures. Photo / File

Broadband speeds and connection numbers have soared across rural New Zealand as the Government's "Rural Broadband Initiative" comes to an end.

Chorus upgraded 1200 broadband roadside cabinets across the country as part of the initiative, which wrapped up last week, improving the broadband access for an estimated 110,000 homes and businesses.

The total number of national rural connections has grown 73 per cent, according to figures released by Chorus.

Northland was the region that had the greatest number of cabinets upgraded, with 210 being upgraded.

After the upgrades were completed, Northland had the second highest number of rural broadband connections of 14,870, after Auckland region, which has 16,682.

Nelson had the greatest growth in broadband connections after 29 cabinets were upgraded and 260 connections, a growth of 348 per cent.

The average connection speed for rural New Zealand is currently 13.8 Mbps, an increase of 148 per cent from 5.6 Mbps before the Rural Broadband Initiative.

Otago region had the fastest average connection speed of 16.5 Mbps, up from 5.9 Mbps before the initiative.

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe said people have higher expectations of broadband performance.

"Typically, homes now have several connected devices at any one time, so we are all using far more data and many of us are demanding faster and more reliable broadband speeds to stream or download high definition TV and video.

"The impact on rural businesses and the economy has also started to gain a momentum that can be felt in many communities, with the availability of faster broadband meaning the emergence of new businesses which could never have been contemplated just a few years ago."

Residents who live within about 1km of their cabinet should now be able to access a VDSL broadband service with speeds in excess of 50Mbps, Ratcliffe said.

- NZ Herald

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