Thursday, April 18, 2024

Commission to dig into rural connectivity landscape

The Commerce Commission has today launched its Rural Connectivity Study with the goal of painting a detailed picture of the rural telecommunications market.

The Study will examine the connectivity options available to rural communities, businesses and farmers, beyond the national UFB fibre footprint, and how these are performing.

Following the successful roll-out of fibre to 87% of the population, Commissioner, Tristan Gilbertson, says the Study represents the beginning of a deeper dig into the state of connectivity in rural areas and how the remainder of New Zealanders are being impacted.

“The vast majority of Kiwis now have access to world-class fibre broadband – but there are still a significant number of consumers living in rural and remote areas where services might not be available, can cost more, and don’t generally perform as well,” Mr Gilbertson said.

“We’re launching this Rural Connectivity Study so that we have better information about the technologies available outside fibre areas – we want to be able to map the areas where they are offered, and who they are offered by. We are interested in the pricing of these technologies, the performance of them, and what the consumer experience looks like.

“While our most recent Measuring Broadband New Zealand report shows the potential of satellite for these areas, we want to know more about the full range of options available to rural consumers.”

He said the Study will be a key vehicle for closing the Commission’s information gap between urban and rural.

“…And the outputs will also be helpful for policy makers, advocacy groups and rural consumers.”

Mr Gilbertson says in order to build a comprehensive picture of rural connectivity in New Zealand, the Commission will engage directly with a range of stakeholders including network operators and service providers, but also end-users, advocacy groups and government departments.

The Terms of Reference for the Study have been published and outline the scope and the information the Commission will need to collect. 

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