Upgrades, new cell tower for district

The Waitaki District will get a new cellphone tower and upgrades to three sites in the next year, to improve mobile coverage and enable many rural residents to access wireless broadband.

As part of the Government's five-year Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), Vodafone is upgrading 387 cell towers and building 154 new ones in rural areas around the country.

Vodafone external communications manager Michelle Baguley said a cell tower would be built at Weston later this year and sites at Twizel, Dunback and Otematata would be upgraded in the next 12 months.

The Weston tower would provide new mobile coverage and wireless broadband for more than 650 homes and businesses.

Three Vodafone towers at Oamaru, Herbert and Big Hill were upgraded last year and a 25m monopole tower was built in Maheno, providing service to more than 430 households.

Ms Baguley said the upgrades enabled many residents in those areas to access wireless broadband for the first time.

Data usage in the Waitaki District had more than doubled since last year, she said.

Upgrades would offer relief in Twizel and Otematata when summer holidaymakers put pressure on the system.

The extension of mobile coverage would include 4500km of rural roads, which would be beneficial for emergencies, transport logistics and road safety.

The Government is funding the construction costs of the new sites, which will accommodate Vodafone and other mobile and wireless operators' equipment.


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