Latest Rural NZ Broadband News

We hope you find the following articles on Rural Broadband useful or interesting.

Applying for the scheme is a 2 minute job using the online form.

“Through the Remote Users Scheme, eligible households and communities in Aotearoa’s most remote areas – where broadband is not currently available and there is only access to voice calling and text services – will be able to apply for support. The Scheme will also be available in rural areas with poor internet coverage.

The first phase of RUS aims to provide a broadband internet service to an area by extending existing networks. Those still without coverage after this has been done, may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of up to $2,000 towards set up and installation costs of a suitable broadband solution.”

Also see the RUS FAQs




Spark to Offer WiFi calling

Spark is rumoured to be offering WiFi Calling on some of its mobiles in the near future.

A source said:

“Phase 1 of WiFi calling will only allow Voice and Video calling from NZ: SMS and MMS capabilities will not be delivered.

Not all mobile devices will work with WiFi calling. From launch, the first available device for WiFi Calling will be Samsung A33 5G until approximately mid-September, Keep an eye on the eligibility page for when more devices become available.”

Apple devices are expected to supported latter,  approximately mid to late October. 

Starlink Business is now available for immediate order in NZ.

The main advantages of Starlink Business are:

  • Its officially for business use
  • Available in more locations than standard Starlink
  • Higher speed (roughly 2x)
  • Improved performance in extreme weather conditions.
  • Prioritised support.

The price is significantly more than standard Starlink.  Further info available on our blog.

An important point is that Starlink Premium is available in more locations.  For example, at the time of writing, standard Starlink is not immediately available at a certain address in Kumeu, yet Premium is.

SpaceX revealed a new dish with increased performance for business use. Previously Starlink had not been marketed for business use. 

The main advantages of Starlink Premium are:

  • Its officially for business use
  • Higher speed (roughly 2x)
  • Improved performance in extreme weather conditions.
  • Prioritised support.

Based on the US pricing, we can expect the cost of Starlink Premium to be around five times that of standard Starlink.

The article reported that Starlink’s Q3 2021 median download speed was much faster than New Zealand’s median fixed broadband download speed. 

4G wireless broadband, mobile voice, data and text services; a new satellite link, satellite dish and five cell sites have been installed around the Chatham Islands by RCG.

Note that some of the new voice technologies (eg VoIP) now being offer by some providers may not work well if you have a slow ADSL connection.  See Lousy Landline??

Vodafone say “From today, the company is moving customers still using older circuit-switched phone lines (plain old telephone system / POTS) onto services that offer voice over fibre, wireless, UltraFast HFC or copper broadband (VoIP).”


The most recent Government data estimates more than 13 percent of households don’t have internet access.

A Federated Farmers survey found 31 percent of farmers have slower internet than last year. 


Podcast from “NZ All That’s Tesla”.

Episode Summary:- NZ’s rural community has always struggled to get reliable access to the Internet – due in part to the population spread and to the mountainous geography of New Zealand. SpaceX’s Elon Musk said that there is significant unmet demand for low-cost global broadband capabilities and access to Starlink in New Zealand has seen many rural users dancing in their fields!

SpaceX CFO Bret Johnsen: ‘we’re producing 5,000 Starlink dishes a week, and will have “multiples of that” in coming months. New, lower cost unit coming out later this fall.’

So at the current rate it will take a couple of years to fulfil the existing pre-orders (500k).  Component shortages and the high production cost of the initial design are issues.

However production is going to ramp up with a new design.  The new design will have a lower manufacturing cost, but it is unknown whether that will allow Starlink to sell it cheaper.  The current dishys cost significantly more to produce than the selling price.

What does this mean for NZ?  We are the first country to have Starlink widely available in the beta program.  There are number of reasons why Starlink would test here:

  • low population density
  • less land area under each satellite (ie there is a lot of sea under each satellite) , which further reduces the number of people served per satellite
  • no govt subsidy so they are under less scrutiny

The concern is that when they have finished testing here Dishys will become harder to obtain.  For example, countries with govt funding may get some priority. 

Tips on how to get the most out of your internet connection.  Introduction to Starlink.

Monday 6 September episode



Starting in September Vodafone will start providing WiFi calling on some phone models.

With WiFi Calling it’s possible to make and receive calls or text messages (SMS) in any location covered by WiFi, even when you don’t have a mobile signal.

Set up Wifi Calling on a compatible phone to stay connected, once your phone has been updated to use the latest software.

Sure Signal devices will stop working from 10 December 2021. This means you need to use an alternative technology such as WiFi Calling to stay connected.

Starlink available to North Island Customers

People in the North Island have reported being able to make full Starlink orders.    Service appears to be available for most of the country now.  However some areas such as Auckland CBD may have sold out.  You can check availability at

“This offer is available permanently to customers in more urban locations, as well as customers in rural areas where we have ample capacity due to new tower builds that have been delivered by our joint venture the Rural Connectivity Group,” says Tessa.

“In other parts of rural New Zealand where we have great coverage but more limited capacity, we’re offering Unplan Metro for customers to sign up to before 6 September and retain the plan thereafter. “

RBI2 cell tower

Starlink Becomes available to South Island

Starlink became available to most of the South Island.  More information to follow.


space, rocket, travel

“There is spare network capacity in a number of the recently built Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2) cell sites, so we are trialling an unlimited RBI2 broadband service for $79.99 a month, launching at Fieldays. We’ll be reaching out to households in certain geographical areas to let them know if their address can connect to RBI2 broadband and access unlimited anytime data. We’ll then assess whether we can offer unlimited RBI2 data plans longer-term.”


Germany wants to help citizens in rural areas get better access to the world wide web by supporting the purchase of hardware for satellite internet services such as Elon Musk’s Starlink, the transport ministry said on Monday.

space, rocket, travel

Vodafone will turn off its dial-up internet service on Monday 31 May 2021.

The Opensignal report shows some encouraging improvements for rural NZ.  However it also shows that some improvements need to be made before every user consistently has a “good experience”

The first NZ Starlink Customers

Starlink is now available in a few select locations, and here’s a quick demonstration.


Controversy in Cable Bay about location of proposed cellphone tower.  

As an historical side note, the name Cable Bay arose from New Zealand’s first overseas cable link, to Australia, which was opened in February 1876. The international telegraph cable established a connection with the worldwide telegraph network.


Starlink start NZ rollout this Week

Starlink is launching in parts of the South Island this week and expanding in the coming weeks.

“You can check availability for your location on by entering your service address. If Starlink is not yet available in your area, you can place a deposit to hold your space in line for future service. All orders are first come, first served.”

More info on Starlink here .

space, rocket, travel

Satellite providers Slashing Prices

Customers in areas where Starlink are beta testing in North America are reporting that large discounts are being offered by the traditional satellite broadband providers.  Discounts of 25% and 50% have been quoted.

There have also been reports of less congestion on fixed wireless networks in the trial areas.


They’ll give you a free modem to trial, then if you’re happy they’ll sign you up.

The data cap may be too low for some families.  Good to see a downward trend on pricing though.


This will hopefully be very good news for rural NZ.  See Broadband Types for more information on Starlink.

Starlink aims to be much faster and cheaper than existing satellite services.

Pre-orders can be made at

ComCom are interested in your feedback on the key pain points being experienced by fixed and mobile consumers and how they could be remedied.

Responses by 26 Feb 2021.

The latest Measuring Broadband New Zealand Spring Report, from independent testing partner SamKnows, includes speed and performance comparisons across copper (ADSL and VDSL), fibre (Fibre 100 and Fibre Max) and fixed wireless technologies.

The 2020 Crown Infrastructure Partners Annual report is now available.  It covers the progress of WISPs and RCG in providing rural broadband.

“… more than 51,900 rural homes and businesses able to
access improved broadband (62% of the target).”
“At 30 June 126 mobile towers were deployed”

The public beta began on 26 October 2020, in select parts of the US. The beta costs US$99 per month, plus a one-time equipment fee of US$499.

Rescheduled. This year’s event will be a combination of online ($40) and in person meetings.

Joined again this year by: RHAANZ, Rural Women NZ, Dairy Women’s Network, Young Farmers NZ and Federated Farmers NZ.

Average NZ Broadband Speed ranking excellent but Mobile Data cost ranking disappoints


Mean broadband download speed ranking 23

Broadband speed drop during lock down 18%

NZ ranks 180th for mobile data costs

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