2degrees’ coverage extended as Rural Connectivity Group’s 500th site goes live

The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) has hit a major milestone – with the 500th rural cell site going live.

The RCG is a partnership between 2degreees, One and Spark who work with Crown Infrastructure Partners to bring wireless internet to previously unserved rural New Zealand, and provide essential calling on remote highways and tourist locations.

2degrees Chief Commercial Officer and RCG director and Chairman Paul Mathewson said what the team has been able to deliver has been nothing short of impressive.

“These are some of the most remote sites in New Zealand – so the process to identify the sites, lease land, then get consents and build on the sites can be a long and complex process. Not to mention getting power to the sites – some are off grid and need innovative solutions using solar. The team at RCG has done this 500 times now – bringing world-class connectivity to rural NZ.

“At 2degrees we are proud of what RCG and its partners have been able to achieve, it’s a tremendous feat.”

The 500 sites connect 33,000 houses which previously had no access to internet connectivity, as well as thousands of kilometres of roads and 110 tourist hotspots. Mathewson notes that the project is funded by the government’s Telecommunications Development Levy, and an additional $75m has been provided by Spark, One NZ and 2degrees.

The funding model is unique and has been an innovative way to ensure modern digital services can be delivered further into isolated and rural parts of New Zealand.

The RCG network carries more than four PBs (petabytes) of data traffic per month, nine million voice calls per month, and significant 111 calling.

The 500th site is in Anawhata, a coastal community on the west coast of Auckland between Piha and Bethells and features 30 solar panels and a generator for added resilience.

"2degrees is incredibly proud to be part of the RCG, and helping enable connectivity in some of the most remote parts of New Zealand. The builds have been challenging, but with commitment, innovation and a dedication to a mission, we have hit the 500 site milestone," Mathewson says.

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