A guide to wireless broadband in rural areas

A guide to wireless broadband in rural areas
Friday, 17 January 2020

What is wireless internet?

If you live in a rural or remote area, getting the internet speed you’d like may not always be straightforward.

You may be able to connect to a standard ADSL or VDSL broadband connection if you’re lucky enough to live close to your local phone exchange or cabinet. But, if you can’t connect to standard broadband or you are frustrated with your speed during peak times, then you may wish to consider a Wireless Internet connection.

Wireless internet connects you to the internet through your local 4G or 3G mobile network. The type of wireless internet connection you can use will depend on where you live. If you live in an area outside the 4G network, you may need to consider a 3G wireless connection.

Wireless internet speeds

Depending on where you live a wireless internet connection could match copper or even fibre broadband speeds.

3G Wireless internet refers to “third-generation” mobile internet. It’s been around longer so offers better coverage than 4G, but connection speeds are likely to be slower.

4G Wireless Internet refers to “fourth generation” mobile internet. The 4G network is newer in New Zealand, so its coverage is not as extensive as the 3G network. If you live in a home within the 4G signal, it will be a better option than 3G.

5G Wireless Internet launched in NZ in 2019 and is potentially five to 10 times faster than current 4G speeds. However 5G coverage is still in its infancy and only available in select areas.

If you live in an area with perfect signal conditions 4G can be up to 10 times faster than 3G connections – potential matching fibre broadband speeds (100Mbps) but more likely be around 40Mbps. 3G wireless internet will be slower, delivering speeds of 20Mbps depending on signal conditions.

How to set up wireless internet

Setting up wireless broadband is relatively straightforward. If you live in a strong signal area, you can usually opt for a ‘plug and play’ option, where the wireless broadband signal is received directly through your modem.  Your plan will either include, or you will need to purchase, a suitable wireless modem, which you simply plug in to connect.

If you live outside of the coverage area and have a weaker signal, a technician may need to install a directional aerial on your roof, and run cabling from the aerial to the modem.

Even if you live in an area where your mobile phones connection isn’t great, the aerial on your roof will boost your reception, so your wireless broadband reception should be much better than your phone connection.

Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI)

The Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) aims to improve connectivity and wireless broadband speeds available across large areas of New Zealand.

The RBI rollout is complementary to the UFB (Ultra-Fast Broadband) rollout. Its goal is to deliver better broadband to rural schools, health providers, some libraries and tens of thousands of residents.

Vodafone own and run the RBI network, but that doesn’t mean that you are required to use them to set up wireless broadband. You can choose to use a different internet provider, so it is worth taking the time to compare the options and make an informed choice about Wireless Broadband Providers. 

Wireless Internet Service Providers

Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) provide connectivity by fixed wireless, mainly in regional or rural areas.

You may find that you receive better service, or more expertise for your specific area if you choose a WISP rather than a national broadband provider.

For example, Wiz Wireless network covers areas in the Wairarapa and parts of the Tararua Districts only. Farmside specialise in providing connectivity in rural areas across New Zealand.  Or Wireless Nation who specialise in providing internet anywhere their customers need it when in rural or urban areas.

Compare wireless broadband plans

EXCLUSIVE
41

RBI 4G 200Gb Get a FREE modem + Get 3 months FRE...

from $0.00 /mo
First 3 months then 95.99/month
36Mbps 10Mbps
200 GB data
EXCLUSIVE
41

RBI 4G 200Gb Get a FREE modem + Get 3 months FRE...

Get a FREE modem and self-installation ($20 freight charge applies) + Get 3 months FREE! Sign up now on 0800 697 327. T&C's apply.
Terms and Conditions apply

Full plan details

Contract options

24 months

Included features

Rental router

Terms and conditions

  • Factors such as the performance of your modem, location of the server you're connected to, the performance of your device and your in-home Wifi setup can impact the speeds experienced.
  • For wireless connections, factors such as the distance you are from a cell tower, the network capability and the overall use of that cell tower by the other consumers can impact the speed experienced.
  • Plan prices exclude data cap overages of $5.00 per GB.
  • A 24 month service term applies. If you require an open term please contact Farmside sales team on 0800 697 327 to discuss open term options.
  • Farmside Broadband Terms and Conditions and Early Termination fees apply
    Farmside Standard Terms and Conditions and Fair Usage Policy applies
  • If power is not available then broadband, and any services which run over it including voice calling (and all calls, including emergency calls to 111), may stop working unless there is battery backup in the home.Farmside recommends always having a charged mobile phone ready to use as a backup.
  • Sufficient 4G coverage and capacity is also required. Traffic management and fair usage apply.
  • Services such as monitored alarms, faxes, medical alerts and Sky may not work over the Broadband and phone (VoIP) service. You will need to check with your supplier.

Related news
Hyperfibre: The Future of the Internet
What is hyperfibre and who needs it? 
18/07/2024
7 Productivity Tips for Back to School
Heading back to school? Here are 7 tips to smash the new term or semester!
16/07/2024
Gobbling Data: New Zealand Internet Use Hits Records
According to data, New Zealand has hit record numbers of internet use. Be sure you're connected to the right fibre plan! 
11/07/2024
Login
×
Log in with
Sign up for free NZ Compare account
×
Log in with
3 Great Offers
×
WINTER SAVINGS ALERT! Enjoy the season with 3 MONTHS of FREE Broadband! Sign up for any Zeronet plan on a 12-month contract and start your winter with great savings.
WINTER SAVINGS ALERT! Enjoy the season with 3 MONTHS of FREE Broadband! Sign up for any Zeronet plan on a 12-month contract and start your winter with great savings.
Join One NZ for 24 months on an Unlimited Fibre plan from $59/month 
and get FREE SuperWifi! BYO modem, terms & exit fees apply.
Join One NZ for 24 months on an Unlimited Fibre plan from $59/month
and get FREE SuperWifi! BYO modem, terms & exit fees apply.
Grab a Good Plan with broadband 
and get $300 credit
*T&Cs & Offer Terms apply. 
Promo code ‘CONTACT300’.
Grab a Good Plan with broadband
and get $300 credit
*T&Cs & Offer Terms apply.
Promo code ‘CONTACT300’.