The just-released annualreport, which provides an overview of the country’s telecommunications industry, has given a glowing review of New Zealand’s internet, mobile and wired phone lines.

The new CEO of the Telecommunications Forum (TCF), Paul Brislen, said New Zealand has the fourth-highest level of investment in telecommunications in the OECD (as a percentage of GDP), in recent years New Zealand has had the highest fibre uptake rate in the developed world, and NZ is twelfth in the world for overall digital connectivity 

In the 24-page report, Brislen praised New Zealand’s government-subsidised Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) roll-out, Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) initiatives, saying the country is on target to deliver much better broadband and mobile coverage to 99.8% of New Zealanders by 2023.

However, Brislen noted online banking, booking doctors’ appointments, doing homework, finding a plumber or even looking for work or working from home are “science fiction” for some.

The snapshot of New Zealand’s telecommunications industry indicates good news, including:

  • At total of 137 new rural mobile cell towers are now live, with the latest additions bringing faster wireless broadband to 17,000 more rural homes and businesses, plus new mobile coverage to 25 tourist hotspots and a further 429km of state highways
  • New Zealand ranked 3rd in the world in the Mobile Connectivity Index, retaining a top 3 ranking for the sixth year in a row.
  • New Zealand ranked 12th in the world for overall digital connectivity in the Global Connectivity Index 2020, up from 13th a year earlier and 14th in 2017.
  • Prices for the most popular consumer broadband and mobile plans remain close to or below OECD averages.

Rural disadvantage continues, however, with only 84% of New Zealanders able to access UFB and just 63% actually connected to UFB.