Tower broadens Castlepoint cell coverage

By Vomle Springford

Telecom now has some competition in Castlepoint.

Vodafone's newly built cell site went live Wednesday offering mobile coverage and wireless broadband options.

"Before that was live, it was only Telecom," said Stephen Hautler, Vodafone Masterton franchisee.

As part of the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative, a 25-metre tower has been built on private property in Castlepoint.

The tower will be able to provide service to an estimated 240 households in the area.

This means people using Vodafone and 2degrees as their mobile provider will get signal in the area.

Louise Oakley, who works at the Castlepoint Store, said she was already with Telecom but it will benefit those with Vodafone phones, such as tourists.

"It will probably help some people because they tend to come out here with Vodafone and they have no way of contacting people."

Mr Hautler said construction of the tower was completed last Friday.

"This is a massive benefit for farming districts like Wairarapa in dealing with emergencies, transport logistics, road safety and other real life circumstances that have been hampered by limited coverage," said Mr Hautler, adding people now also had a choice in broadband internet services.

Farmers could have an opportunity to increase production and monitoring through technologies that use wireless broadband, he said.

Along with this new tower, Vodafone will build another tower in Opaki in the next 12 months.

Jointly, the towers will be able to service 1000 homes and businesses.

Two other sites around Masterton have already been upgraded and a new tower at Riversdale Beach went live earlier this year.

Under the rural initiative, Vodafone will upgrade almost 400 cell towers and build a further 154 towers in rural areas around the country.

It is expected to cost around $300 million to bring faster internet to rural New Zealand.

Around half of the rural community experiences only dial-up speeds.


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