Tū Ātea to put Māori spectrum assets to work with Broadtech acquisition
Tū Ātea (previously known as the Interim Maori Spectrum Commission) has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of The Broadtech Group, a leading telecommunications and broadcasting services provider which operates a nationwide network of radio transmission sites.
The acquisition, which includes Broadtech’s network specialist entity JDA, will retain all the 50 strong Broadtech team, which in addition to having expertise in telecommunications and broadcast engineering, has capability in the healthcare, utility, media, and enterprise sectors.
The acquisition is a milestone for Tū Ātea, which holds the rights on behalf of Māori, to an allocation of telecommunications radio spectrum as the result of an historic agreement signed between Māori and the Crown in February 2022.
Tū Ātea Chief Executive, Antony Royal, says Broadtech’s network infrastructure, technical capabilities, and skilled team of engineers will enable Tū Ātea to facilitate mobile services around the country, particularly to rural communities.
“The team is working very closely with the existing mobile network operators and key equipment vendors to find innovative ways to share spectrum and infrastructure to extend mobile coverage to remote and underserved areas,” says Royal.
“The intention is that people could use their existing mobile account to access services in areas that previously had no or poor coverage.”
Broadtech’s network assets also enable opportunities to deliver high-capacity voice, data and broadcast services to many more communities in Aotearoa, help close the digital divide, and provide entrepreneurs and innovators a bridge to strengthen the country’s digital economy.
“That’s the mission we were set up to pursue,” says Tū Ātea Chair, Piripi Walker.
“It is gratifying to see these plans come together. With the expertise and infrastructure we have gained from Broadtech, we can begin to put this incredibly valuable resource to good use for all New Zealanders.”
The Broadtech Group will continue to support and grow its wide range of commercial operations, including supporting mobile network operators to build out and maintain their infrastructure, and manage terrestrial transmission for Whakaata Māori (Māori TV) and Iwi radio stations, as well as other major radio and television media organisations, health and enterprise clients, wireless internet providers, the coastguard and many others.
Broadtech’s Managing Director, Merv Taylor, will continue to lead the business, which this month will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“This is an incredibly exciting new chapter for Broadtech, where we have the opportunity to apply our expertise and resources to innovative new uses and enable Māori social and economic development in the process,” says Taylor.
Tū Ātea is developing its Spectrum Innovation Platform, offering research and development, testing, prototyping and training for Māori in wireless technologies.
Antony Royal says that joining forces with Broadtech will allow Tū Ātea to radically scale up its Māori skills and workforce development efforts.
“We have a real shortage of Māori radio engineers and technicians. With Broadtech we now have a company to help us build skills for Māori in cutting-edge technologies, and develop careers in a wide range of digital sectors including telecommunications and broadcasting.”
The Broadtech Group acquisition, which has been funded through the 2022 spectrum agreement with the Government, has been welcomed by the telecommunications and broadcasting industries and user groups.
Reaction to the news from key stakeholders and industry participants:
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Tumuaki (CEO), Mereana Selby:
“Along with the award of spectrum management rights, this is a huge step into active participation in telecommunications for te ao Māori. It was dreamed of and fought hard for by our elders and iwi, over many decades. Their aspirations are coming to fruition. We salute those who are no longer among us, who carried the flame on this issue, and also those who continue to advance this work.”
Te Hapori Matihiko Chief Executive Officer, Katie Brown:
“This is incredible and transformative news for the hapori of Māori in digital and tech that we represent, and our future workforce. Opportunities for Māori to work on a kaupapa like this are rare and we look forward to supporting Tū Ātea as they build our workforce.”
Technology Users Association Chief Executive Officer, Craig Young:
“This announcement from Tū Ātea is a very welcome step forward in a number of important areas including the utilisation of the spectrum allocated to benefit Māori. TUANZ is committed to the mahi of improving digital equity, as well as encouraging more Māori, especially Wahine Māori, into tech roles and this news provides an important contribution to increasing the diverse paths into the ever changing digital economy.”
2degrees Chief Executive Officer, Mark Callander:
Mark Callander said 2degrees has a strong shared history with Māori – with Māori spectrum rights ultimately leading to the creation of 2degrees and unleashing enormous economic benefit to Aotearoa.
“It’s fantastic to see Tū Ātea identify an opportunity in Broadtech that will strengthen its role in this industry and support its ambition to broaden participation in the digital economy.”
One New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Jason Paris:
“One New Zealand welcomes Tū Ātea’s acquisition of Broadtech. We’ve built strong relationships with both organisations over several years and look forward to continuing our work with Tū Ātea to connect more people and communities around the motu and help deliver on our mission ‘ka mau te mauri o te hangarau, ka whakamana a Aotearoa’.”
Spark Chief Executive Officer, Jolie Hodson:
“It’s great to see Tū Ātea investing to expand connectivity into rural areas and to provide a platform for greater Māori participation in the technology sector – an ambition that we share.”
Chief Executive Officer Tū Ātea Ltd
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About Tū Ātea
Tū Ātea (previously known as the Interim Māori Spectrum Commission) was established by the Māori Spectrum Working Group (MSWG) in 2020 to hold the long-term rights to telecommunications spectrum.
Tū Ātea is developing its commercial strategy to enable its use of the spectrum allocation resulting from the agreement between Māori and the Crown. Its Spectrum Innovation Platform includes support for research and development, testing, prototyping and training for Māori on a range of wireless technologies.
About The Broadtech Group
How long in business: Founded in 1973, it turns 50 years this month.
Size of company by turnover: Currently turning over between 10-20m/year. However, the synergies presented by Tū Ātea and the new opportunities created by its spectrum will see Broadtech multiply this growth over the coming years.
Number of staff: Currently 50-60 staff and contractors. The growth opportunities presented by Tū Ātea will see this substantially increase as it develops a Māori workforce.
Key services: Broadtech delivers a wide range of technology solutions nation-wide. They include integrated design, build and operate, and technology-partner services to the broadcast, telecommunications, healthcare, aged care, utility, media and enterprise sectors across New Zealand and the Pacific.
The company delivers and supports macro and in building cellular, digital healthcare, microwave linking and connectivity, broadcast studio production and transmission, film and media production, maritime, and critical communications solutions.
Broadtech also owns or leases and operates a nationwide network of broadcast communications towers providing digital terrestrial television services.
Key customers: 2degrees; One New Zealand; Spark New Zealand; Connexa; FortySouth; Rural Connectivity Group; Māori Television Services; Mediaworks; Al Jazeera; Warner Brothers; Discovery New Zealand; Fonterra; NZME; Parliament TV; Radio NZ; Rhema Media; TVNZ; Sky; Te Whatu Ora, and many others.
Broadtech’s head office is in Mt Wellington, Auckland.