Aird Towers seeks RBI-2 funding for operator-agnostic tower network

Christchurch and Brisbane based tower leasing company, Aird Towers, has submitted a proposal to Crown Fibre Holdings for the expansion of broadband and mobile coverage throughout New Zealand under the RBI-2 and mobile black spots programmes.

The company proposes to construct operator-agnostic towers that could be used by all three mobile network operators and by the many small regional wireless Internet service providers.

It says the move would produce more coverage solutions for end users while also reducing the number and size of mobile coverage black spots.

The move follows the announcement on 4 April by Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees that they had made a submission to the Government proposing to use the RBI-2 and Mobile Black Spot Fund to improve rural broadband and mobile infrastructure by building jointly owned infrastructure and contributing spectrum.

Managing director, Tom Andrews, said: "Aird Towers offers a real opportunity for all operators, large and small, to access towers in areas where they are required to provide the vitally needed coverage.

“By ensuring that the tower deployment is conducted in an operator agnostic way Aird Towers will ensure that the location and size of the towers is suitable for all users, technologies and spectrum.”

The Government announced RBI-2 in May 2015, committing to spending $100m to expand the rural broadband network and $50m to overcome mobile black spots.

The programme is being run by Crown Fibre Holdings which has issued a request for proposal for a range of solutions to provide broadband in regional areas and to reduce the number and size of mobile coverage black spots.

Aird Towers was established in 2016. It owns and manages wireless and mobile telecommunication towers which are leased to mobile operators, wireless broadband operators as well as emergency and government agency services.

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