New Zealand’s Commerce Commission kicked off a study of rural connectivity to gain a clearer picture of how the telecoms market is serving communities, businesses and farmers in remote areas, with the aim of closing the so-called information gap.

Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson explained in a statement that despite the rollout of fibre to 87 per cent of the population, a significant number of consumers live in rural and remote areas where services might not be available, can cost more and don’t generally perform as well as in urbans areas.

The goal of the Rural Connectivity Study is to gather better information about the technologies available outside fibre areas.

“We are interested in the pricing of these technologies, the performance of them and what the consumer experience looks like,” Gilbertson said.

“While our most recent Measuring Broadband New Zealand report shows the potential of satellite for these areas, we want to know more about the full range of options available to rural consumers.”

Gilbertson added the Commerce Commission will work directly “with a range of stakeholders including network operators and service providers, but also end-users, advocacy groups and government departments”.