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Million dollar investment speeds up Hawke’s Bay rural broadband
Thu, 31st Aug 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

On  September 1, 2017, the two principal rural wireless broadband providers in Hawke's Bay will join forces to form one of the largest rural internet providers in the country.

Dedicated to the area they serve, Taylor Broadband and WASP Broadband have committed to investing $1 million in conjunction with Crown Fibre Holdings to expand their wireless network in the region.

The Taylor and WASP Broadband merger is happening under the banner of New Zealand Technology Group, the largest investment company for ICT businesses in the country.

It was their commitment to the region and the size of the business that gave Crown Fibre Holdings the confidence to appoint the tender for the RBI12 contract to them for the Hawke's Bay area.

This means that they can now expand their already large network of over 2,000 customers to the entire Hawke's Bay region, from Wairoa in the North to Porangahau in the South.

The investment will allow Taylor and WASP Broadband to upgrade the existing network plant and build new transmitter sites to bring world class broadband access to more rural homes and businesses at urban prices.

Compared to 4G mobile phone technology, this network will be able to deliver fast speeds via superior technology for fixed wireless broadband at cost effective rates.

The network infrastructure doesn't rely on buried backhaul cables like traditional cellphone and landline services, but rather digital radio technology transmitted from hilltop sites.

This provides much faster speeds than currently available in rural communities and, critically, the network is able to stay online, providing much-needed support for the greater community during natural disasters like the Kaikoura earthquake.

Ray Taylor, Taylor Broadband says, “The greater Hawke's Bay region contributes over $6.5 billion to New Zealand's GDP, and trends show more of our products going to places like China, so it's important we keep our businesses connected to the worldwide market.

“By partnering with WASP Broadband we have been able to work together to secure this funding for our region.

“As someone who grew up in a town, I used to think that if you choose to live on a farm or orchard you should accept that the internet isn't going to be good, but in doing this, I have learned that the life we enjoy is powered by primary sector and the GDP they bring into the region, they should have every right to be as connected as those in town.

Over the past 10 years, the two providers have brought broadband to a significant proportion of rural Hawke's Bay with the goal of reducing the rural divide.

Don Price, WASP Broadband says, “We couldn't do this without the support of the hilltop landowners who host transmitter sites for their communities.

“They allow us to do what we love, and they do a great service for the community at large.

“Engaging community champions willing to liaise during the scope and build process is key to the successful delivery of the network into those communities."