Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Broadband in NZ - noise on the line

David Farrar, aka DPF, of Kiwi Blog is running a lovely thread on the NZ National Party current billboard campaign, where his readers are making their own. The real National one is over here. I like this one.

The Infrastructure debate.
The tug is to the proposal on road tolling, subsequently denied/amended by his leader, from the NZ National Party's Transport and Communication spokesperson, Maurice Williamson.

Both roading and broadband will be big infrastructure issues in the forthcoming NZ election.

I heard Maurice Williamson speak twice last week. First at the TUANZ Telecoms day where he shared the platform with David Cunliffe the resident Minister of Communications. Second, at the TUANZ Innovation Awards dinner in the evening. He really is a smart funny guy. It's a pity he doesn't seem to have any colleagues who give the impression they are as interested in broadband far less understand it. And that includes his new boss John Key.

There again, with the exception of David Cunliffe, there is a dearth of real enthusiasm for the broadband infrastruture issue from the upper ranks of the Labour cabinet. As for the other so called minor parties - let's just say nothing comes to mind that makes me cheerful.

The Broadband Fibre Fund - noise on the line
Despite my own theorectical enthusiasm for the concept of fibre to the home, and the potential of a national fibre fund, I have no notion whatsoever as to how National would actually implement their throw away statement they would invest $NZ1.5 billion to help make this happen. I take even less heart from recent statements that they will figure it all out early next year should they get elected. This isn't a policy, it's just noise on the line.

Alan Freeth - CEO Telstra NZ
As for the CEO of Telstra NZ , Alan Freeth , I rarely if ever get involved in personal criticism, but his recent statement that fibre to the home was a nonsense, wouldn't help NZ business, or NZ productivity, and all that would happen is people would download more movies and pornography - sorry , but this guy needs challenged on this. It's arrogant and bordering on the offensive.

Update on the Alan Freeth challenge.
Internet NZ, the Internet Society of NZ,  has just published a press release challanging Alan Freeth. I welcome it, and so report it below.

InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) is concerned with comments from TelstraClear CEO Dr Allan Freeth reported in the New Zealand Herald yesterday.

 “Dr Freeth’s view that true high-speed broadband available at home is not important for New Zealand’s future is not a view we share. High speed broadband – 100mbps and more – is vital to New Zealand’s future,”says InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson.

“Freeth is reported as saying that the main benefit of true high-speed broadband at home may simply be faster porn and movie downloads, and that there would be no impact on productivity,” Davidson says.

 “All across the economy, innovative applications are being developed that help people work in more productive ways. In the rural sector, for instance, many new and little-known applications were illustrated at the TUANZ Rural Broadband symposium in July. 

“High-speed broadband already allows effective work-from-home and telepresence arrangements, greater social interaction through video contact between family members; and sustainability gains through, for example, realtime monitoring of energy use.

“More importantly, a whole array of services and applications that can’t even be developed without ubiquitous high-speed broadband will be invented and rolled out once the infrastructure is available.

 “Many applications – whether already available or yet to be developed – will boost productivity, and people’s quality of life.

 “New Zealand needs to keep up with other countries in rollout out true high-speed broadband services. If we do not, then as the applications it allows demand higher bandwidth and become more critical to our economy’s future, we will be left behind.

 “Dr Freeth has a job to do, in protecting TelstraClear’s investment in an HFC network that is not capable of delivering the services that a fibre-to-the-home network would allow. His comments should be read in that context,” Davidson says.

Network Strategies
 “InternetNZ considers that the case for true high-speed broadband has been made. That is why we are now focusing on developing the best possible roadmap to roll it out, and the research we commissioned last month with Network Strategies,[PDF] which will be released before this year’s election, will help paint a clear picture of the approach which is best for New Zealand.

 “Incumbent network owners will always be sceptical of plans which increase the competition they face. That is to be expected, and as a result it is important for all participants in the debate to make their voices heard,” concludes Davidson.



Chad Taylor said...

Freeth is a fucking balloon. Obviously he's trolling for an official nod to whatever network Telstra would like supported but for the head of a telecommunications company to challenge the commercial value of the Internet is disingenuous silly bullshit, particularly as his sales reps are ringing my house every other day trying to sell me Telstra broadband.

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