Moving out of the city? What you need to know about your rural internet options
Live the lifestyle you want without missing out on the connection you need
Moving to the country seems idyllic – the wide open spaces, the peace and quiet, the easy-going lifestyle and lack of commute. With working from home continuing to be an option post-lockdown, many city dwellers are contemplating a move to the countryside to take advantage of the lifestyle on offer there.
But the last thing most people consider when making a move to the country is the rural internet connection. Can you even get one? Is fibre available? How will the speeds compare to what you’re used to in town?
You’ve got meetings to run, the kids have their homework, and your friends want to check on how you’re settling in, but without knowing beforehand what’s available, you may be stuck with poor to no reception in your new home and struggle to stay in touch.
You need the internet like you need running water. So what are your options, and what do you need to know?
What are my options for a rural connection?
Depending on where in the country you are, different connections will be available to you.
The three common connection types for rural residents and businesses across New Zealand are:
- RBI Wireless
When you think of poor rural internet connections, copper lines are probably what you’re thinking of. Prone to overloading, slow, and generally leaving much to be desired, copper lines are still common across much of NZ but don’t offer the best connection.
To combat this, over the past decade the Government has rolled out the excellent RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative) to bring fast fibre and wireless connections to rural New Zealand by replacing the old copper lines with new fibre technology in some areas and implementing 500+ cell towers across the country for other areas.
Now, if your home is located within a radius of where the fibre infrastructure has been laid out – e.g. near a school, healthcare centre, library, or village centre, you could be able to access this connection.
The next best option behind fibre is an RBI Wireless connection, if available in your area. While your physical distance from the tower can affect your connection, RBI Wireless gives you the freedom to move around while staying connected. It’s versatile, affordable and easy to access.
The third option for the most remote homes and businesses is a satellite broadband connection, which is delivered via a dish at your property.
Satellite broadband is ideal for those who are out of reach of cell signal or fibre networks, and for businesses that require more stability or a backup connection for when the terrestrial connection gets cut. You can read more about how satellite broadband works here.
A fourth option, Regional WISPs, also provide broadband to rural regions of New Zealand from their own smaller, locally run networks/towers.
What can I expect from a Rural Broadband installation?
80% of New Zealand can access RBI wireless broadband, within which there are two areas of signal available – plug and play, and with additional outdoor aerial.
In many cases when you can receive the RBI Wireless connection, it’s as simple as plugging in your modem to power and switching it on – no additional setup is required. Your modem will receive the connection directly from an RBI tower, and you’re good to go!
However, if you’re a bit further from an RBI tower, you’ll need an aerial installed on your roof that connects to your modem to receive a strong and stable signal.
If you need the external antenna, with Wireless Nation, your rural broadband installation process is fast and easy. We offer the option of either installing the modem and aerial yourself (if it is safe to do so),or having one of our contracted technicians visit your property to complete the setup for you.
Having won four awards in the last four consecutive years, we’re New Zealand’s favourite wireless broadband provider, and our technicians are available across the country to help where you need it.
What kind of speeds and data can I get?
You’re online, you’re ready to roll, and now your next question is: what speeds and data packages can I get?
While speeds can’t be guaranteed and depend on how many people are using a tower at the same time and how far you are from a tower, many of our rural customers are surprised by how fast their connection is and how much data they still get in the countryside. There are over 500 towers across the country delivering 4G speeds for RBI Wireless, which is enough to stream Netflix and use multiple other devices at once.
We also have a system on our RBI Wireless connection at Wireless Nation that helps to share the load across the cell towers, called AM & Anytime Hours. With this system, you can enjoy more data for longer by spreading your work throughout the day allowing for much larger data caps.
If you’re on a satellite connection, speeds can’t be guaranteed as it can be affected by how busy the satellite is and certain atmospheric conditions. Extreme weather can affect your signal, as can heavy traffic. On the upside, satellite broadband comes with no data caps.
When you have a residential satellite connection, you move through these three priority groups to ensure everyone gets a fair share of usage:
- Priority 1: Data usage up to 200GB per month
- Priority 2: Data usage from 200GB to 280GB per month
- Priority 3: Data usage above 280GB per month
In this system, users have access to fast speeds in the “priority lane” up to their specified amount, above which they move into the “regular lane”, where they may encounter some heavier traffic on the bandwidth. In good weather, it’s unlikely you’ll face disruptions within your priority lane, but once you exceed that you may experience slower speeds.
Wireless Nation have been connecting rural New Zealand for over 15 years. If you’re unsure about what you need, or unclear about what to expect, please get in touch with our team today to find out what we can do for you.