Digital connectivity

Connecting communities

We're helping to connect communities by improving digital infrastructure in regional New Zealand.

Our investment in digital connectivity is opening up opportunities for some of the most far-flung parts of New Zealand. Digital connectivity helps overcome the challenges of small, distant communities, and brings New Zealand closer together.

The PGF is supporting four digital connection projects:

  • Marae Connectivity: connecting marae to New Zealand broadband networks including providing hardware and technical support.
  • Regional Digital Hubs: establishing place-based facilities in PGF surge regions where communities can make use of digital services
  • RBI2 and MBSF expansion: extending the reach of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative phase 2 (RBI2) and Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF).
  • West Coast of South Island connectivity: Building the Haast Fibre Loop and Milford Highway Fibre Connection, extending mobile coverage on the West Coast and accelerating UFB in UFB towns on the West Coast.

Marae connectivity

The Provincial Growth Fund is bringing Māori communities together through investing in marae connectivity. Connecting marae will help communities seize business and education opportunities even if living in rural areas, as well as helping whānau stay in touch and Māori to connect with their iwi.

The PGF may contribute towards a physical internet connection, essential hardware such as routers or cameras and technical support and training so whānau are able to utilise the new technology effectively.

The Provincial Development Unit is working with Te Puni Kōkiri to identify marae eligible for digital connection funding. You can find more information on Te Puni Kōkiri’s website.
To learn more or to discuss eligibility, email the Provincial Growth Fund on maraeconnectivity@mbie.govt.nz or call Jo Taite on 027 229 9431.

Regional Digital Hubs

Local communities will benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund’s investment in Regional Digital Hubs (RDHs). RDHs are place-based facilities which may include key digital services such as free connectivity (via WiFi), co-working spaces for businesses and potentially council activities, event spaces, some support for technical connectivity and guidance on use of the internet for business purposes.

Regional Digital Hubs will focus on the Provincial Growth Fund's surge regions (Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti/Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and West Coast), and locations will be confirmed when appropriate space and local community partners are secured.

Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 and Mobile Black Spot Fund

Remote areas of New Zealand as well as the tourism industry will get greater internet and mobile coverage through the Rural Broadband Initiative phase 2 (RBI2) and Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) expansion.

Crown Infrastructure Partners, who are leading the RBI2/MBSF expansion will receive an additional $40 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, boosting the $105 million already allocated the expansion.

This investment will increase the reach of the RBI2/MSBF rollout, with a focus on Provincial Growth Fund surge regions. Crown Infrastructure Partners expects that the additional investment will, for example, make enhanced broadband available to nearly every rural marae, home and business in Manawatū-Whanganui.

South Island connectivity

Investment in digital connectivity for the West Coast and Milford will support local businesses, residents and tourism in this remote part of New Zealand.

Provincial Growth Fund investment will help extend and improve mobile coverage on the West Coast and accelerate ultra-fast broadband in towns in the region.

Both the Haast Fibre Loop (between Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea) and the Milford Highway Fibre Connection into Milford Sound will provide much-needed bandwidth into the area and support more data on the mobile towers that will be going in under the RBI2/MBSF programme.

Published: Feb 4, 2019