Vodafone completes first 'off-grid' cell tower in Coromandel

DOC says tower will provide extra safety for the 30,000 annual visitors to the Kauaeranga Valley area.

Vodafone has finished construction of a cell tower in Kauaeranga Valley, Coromandel, delivering speeds of up to 100 Megabit/sec.

The telco says it is the first ‘off grid’ cell site to be built on the mainland under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), which it delivers in partnership with the government and Chorus. The tower is powered by solar panels and wind turbines.

Vodafone says the site is capable of delivering broadband services and mobile phone coverage to approximately 350 households and businesses from Kopu-Hikuai Road, across the Kauaeranga Valley to Thames.

Department of Conservation Hauraki operations manager Avi Holzapfel says the improved mobile coverage will boost communications safety for the 30,000 annual visitors to the Kauaeranga Valley area.

“If an incident happens where emergency help is required, having cell phone signal can be the difference between life and death, as it gives search and rescue teams another communication tool to coordinate their efforts,” he says.

Vodafone wholesale director Steve Rieger says it is “thrilling” to deliver the telecommunications infrastructure while respecting the environment.

“Today’s outcome is a result of a lot of hard work by the teams at Thames-Coromandel District Council and the Department of Conservation, who in collaboration with the team at Vodafone have been steadfast in their commitment to seeing this project through to fruition,” he says.

Vodafone first received consent to build the Kauaeranga Valley cell site in 2013, however the inability to access a nearby mains power source meant an alternative solution was needed.