While Australia argues about the merits of rolling out a $43 billion fibre-to-the-home network, a similar debate rages over the ditch in New Zealand.
The government there has promised $1.5 billion to connect 75 per cent of premises to a new broadband network. The total cost is expected to be four or five times that amount; yet there’s a lot of competitive interest in building it, suggesting most people there see it as a commercially worthwhile investment. Next month the government will choose the winning bidder.
Particularly keen is Telecom New Zealand, which has offered to structurally separate the company if it gets the gig. It makes sense for it to go its way: it is already some way through a program of rolling out fibre to the node. But, of course, common sense doesn’t always prevail.
This week and next we look at the New Zealand approach to broadband, starting with a look at the story so far. You’ll hear from:
- Rosemary Howard: former CEO of Telstra Clear, now executive director AGSM Executive Programs
- Rosalie Nelson: research manager, Telecommunications at IDC
- Ernie Newman: CEO of Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand
- Rod Oram: business journalist, author and columnist for Sunday Star-Times
- Mark Ratcliffe: executive lead, Ultra Fast Broadband program, Telecom New Zealand.
Tune-in next week for the second exciting instalment of this intriguing foray into telecommunications, Kiwi style.