More broadband upgrades coming to the Coromandel

Broadband speeds are picking up across the Coromandel and are poised to get even better as our Council works with the Government, Chorus and Vodafone to fast-track upgrades. Chorus runs the bulk of the fibre-optic cables and copper lines in New Zealand that carry broadband while Vodafone builds and operates the cell-phone towers in the Coromandel that transmit wireless broadband.

The Government has contracted both companies to deliver improved broadband speeds to the Coromandel as part of its nationwide Rural Broadband Initiative.

Internet Service Providers use these lines and towers to deliver broadband to their customers.

Our Council has been working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and both companies to get upgrades done as quickly as possible.

Why the Coromandel needs good broadband?
Our Council is aware that good broadband speeds are an important part of the Coromandel’s infrastructure, right up there with roads, bridges and all the pipes and wires that are essential to modern life.

“Fast, steady broadband is as vital to the 21st Century economy as railways were to the 19th Century,” says Ben Dunbar-Smith, our Economic Development Programme Manager.

Fast broadband is essential to businesses, whether it’s to run a website to profile products and services, take online bookings, send and receive large information files, hold video conferences, or use cloud-based services to help with accounting.

“Fast broadband is also helpful to our District’s non-resident ratepayers, giving them the opportunity to work from the bach. It’s also a selling point to businesses looking to set up or relocate in the Coromandel,” says Mr Dunbar-Smith.

In recent weeks Chorus has installed or upgraded fibre-fed cabinets in Kopu, Whenuakite and Hahei. A second Kopu cabinet, serving businesses by the roundabout that aren’t connected to the first cabinet, is due to be upgraded by the end of June. Two other Coromandel cabinets are also due to be upgraded by July. This means homes and businesses served by the copper phone lines running from those cabinets will have much better internet access, with speeds of more than 10 Mbps available through ADSL2+ (Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband.

Kopu businesses also have the choice of VDSL (Very-high-speed Digital Subscriber Line) broadband, with speeds faster than 20 Mbps. Contact your broadband provider to see if they can offer you VDSL. In the meantime, Vodafone is progressing with building new fibre-connected cell phone towers or upgrading existing ones to provide high-speed wireless broadband and mobile coverage to more of the Coromandel.

A tower at Preece Point outside Coromandel Town was completed and went live in 2013. Three other new towers, in the Kauaeranga Valley, Te Puru and Manaia, are all in process. Seven towers have recently been upgraded, at Coromandel Town, Thames, Whitianga Central, Matarangi, Hahei, Pauanui South and Pauanui/Tairua.

Upgrades to three other towers, in Opito Bay, Onemana and Colville, are due to be completed over the next 18 months or so and a further tower at Kaiaua that would improve coverage over the Firth of Thames, is due to be completed this year. In addition, a Hamilton-based firm called Lightwire has its own tower in Kopu that can deliver wireless broadband. Lightwire says its towers deliver broadband download speeds of 7-10 Mbps within a range of 20-25 kilometres.

To keep up with the latest on what is happening with broadband around the Coromandel go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/rbi.

Author: James

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