Rural Kiwis login as internet data skyrockets 75%

Unlimited off-peak data offer for Vodafone & Farmside rural broadband users extended until the end of September

As Aotearoa continues to navigate heightened alert levels, Vodafone NZ will continue providing free unlimited off-peak data to rural broadband users at least until the end of September.

This comes as RBI data usage continues to track at 75% higher than pre-lockdown levels, as rural users make the most of unlimited data between the hours of midnight and 5pm, and stay connected to friends and whanau remotely.

Murray Osborne, Head of Wholesale, is joining the Rural Connectivity Online Mini Symposium 2021 today to discuss connectivity challenges facing rural New Zealanders, and how Vodafone can continue to work with industry partners to face into these headwinds.

“We hope our offer of free off-peak data will continue to be welcomed by rural broadband users on the Vodafone network, which seems to be incredibly popular if usage stats are anything to go by. A 75% uplift in data is pretty incredible. However unfortunately there are ongoing connectivity challenges facing rural New Zealanders due to our long, thin and sparsely populated geography.

“The reality is that Covid-19 has accelerated digital adoption by up to five years, and no one could foresee the phenomenal increases in data use. While we continue to invest in digital infrastructure, there are areas of New Zealand where it’s uneconomical to do so. We’re pleased to work with industry partners such as via the Rural Connectivity Group on the RBI2 build, which is exceeding targets and progressing well.

“However, many RBI1 areas are maxing out in terms of capacity and more government funding is needed to build more towers. We have had several traffic management initiatives in place for a while now, such as limiting speeds in highly congested areas to balance connectivity for all users. But generally, if your house is located further away from a mobile cellsite, your internet connection quality will decrease compared to those living closer.

“As the government looks to invest into more digital infrastructure, the focus needs to shift onto upgrading the quality and capacity of New Zealand’s current rural broadband footprint, instead of predominantly aiming to widen the coverage area. This will make the most difference to rural New Zealanders.”

The uncapped off-peak data offer applies to both Vodafone and Farmside customers on RBI plans.

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