Spark has switched on new mobile coverage in Okiwi Bay, a popular holiday spot in the Marlborough Sounds.
Holidaymakers and mariners alike will be excited to now have Spark mobile coverage thanks to a small-scale metro cell solution, located on the community hall, with coverage that extends about 300m in radius.
This Spark coverage offers visitors to the area the ability to make a call, send a text, or check the weather forecast before heading out on the water, and when they return.
Until now, Okiwi Bay had no mobile coverage and the nearest mobile coverage is thirty minutes’ drive towards Rai Valley on a narrow and winding road or to sea in Croisilles Harbour.
Spark has previously installed similar sites in South Canterbury township of Albury last year followed by Okarito and Otira. Three sites were also completed on State Highway 65, which has become the main route between Picton and Christchurch, after the Kaikoura earthquakes.
Local community support has been the driving force behind the installation. Spark worked with the Okiwi Bay Residents Association and Marlborough District Council in agreeing on a location for the Metro Cell.
Okiwi Bay Residents Association Chairperson Tim Greenhough says the coverage will be widely used in the small settlement.
“For a bay that has had no mobile coverage to date we were pleased to be able to work with Spark to bring this added level of connectivity to the area,” Greenhough added.
Spark’s Head of South Island Paul Deavoll thanked the local community for working with Spark to get the coverage up and running in time for summer.
“Following the success of metro cells in other smaller South Island communities, we decided to put a metro cell in at Okiwi Bay to provide localised coverage with a focus on safety for those heading to sea,” says Spark’s Head of South Island Paul Deavoll.
“We’re pleased to be able to find a solution for residents, visitors and in particular boaties using the area who can now keep in touch when getting on and off the water, an added element of safety.” he added.
The coverage is a welcomed addition for the local St John ambulance service who can now rely on the coverage to get comms to the Okiwi Bay St Johns staff. St Johns Marlborough Territory Manager Murray Neal says this will be hugely beneficial for the service.
“We have struggled to utilise the tools we have to support our staff due to the lack of reliable mobile coverage in Okiwi Bay. We need to be able to support them from outside the bay with the likes of helicopter transport and this coverage will be a significant benefit for us to do that."
Notes to the editor:
A metro cell is a small-scale cell site solution, delivering cellular service to a more localised area, this has previously been used to boost mobile coverage capacity for indoor locations such as hospitals and shopping malls.