New Zealand's Rural Broadband Iniitiative (RBI) is a government-led project that will deliver high-speed broadband to rural communities at a cost and service level comparable with urban areas.

The project - a joint-initiative between Chorus and Vodafone - will see Chorus extend its fibre network by 3,100 km and deploy an additional 1,000 fibre-fed cabinets (FTTC). Likewise, Vodafone will build 154 new cell phone towers and upgrade 380 existing ones, with Chorus providing the requisite mobile backhaul.

The Project

Being a low-density rural economy, RBI is a strategic initiative to boost productivity across the country with particular focus being given to agri-businesses and schools.

Upon its completion in 2016, the percentage of rural households and businesses that will be able to access broadband services of at least 5 Mbps will have increased from 20% to 86%. In addition, 97% of schools will be connected to a fibre network that will be capable of at least 100 Mbps.

In total, 252,000 rural households will have access to broadband at prices and levels of service comparable with urban areas.



The Solution

Following a formal review process, iTools was selected to automate the operational process of scheduling, delivering and reporting on the project.

As timelines were tight, the iTools Telecom solution was quickly phased in and rapid utilisation achieved due to its ease-of-use and process alignment.

The roll-out included all field engineering contractors who are responsible for the majority of the delivery effort.

Progress To Date

As of September 2015, the project is ahead of schedule with the tower programme 82.5% complete and the fixed network upgrades 98% complete.

Expected Economic Benefit

A recent study by Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, predicts a massive $4.7 billion boost to GDP over the first 6 years from the UFB and RBI projects combined.

The management of the majority of this network build is being managed through the iTools Telecom solution.


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