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Telco Report Of Little Value

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Telco Report Of Little Value

23 February 2009 - InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) finds little to commend about the incumbent telcos' report "Getting the Most from High Speed Broadband in New Zealand: Investing in Productivity Growth" but is not surprised telcos are fighting the Government's fibre rollout plan.

The document, while dated December last year, was not released to the public until today. InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson says its key pitfall is the lack of vision in re-iterating tired arguments about whether New Zealand needs fibre or not. Both National and Labour, in pre-election pledges, elevated the debate from "whether or not we need fibre to the home" to "how do we get fibre to the home", and it seems this report is seeking to take a backward step to the expectations of New Zealanders and the Government.

This report also fails to take into account the information - including detailed costing information - provided in the December release of the InternetNZ-commissioned "Broadband Strategy Options for New Zealand" report from consultancy Network Strategies.

"It is predictable that incumbent operators would put the interests of their shareholders first in the debate about fibre. Their vested interests should be front of mind when policymakers are considering this report," says Davidson.

"The independent Network Strategies report shows that incumbent telcos, particularly Telecom, are under threat from power utilities, which can roll out a fibre-to-the-home network for $2 billion less than the telcos, and at a public cost close to the $1.5 billion that the National Government campaigned on," says Davidson.

The report talks about supporting the Government but in effect attacks the Government's position. John Key stated in campaigning that "National's fibre-to-the-home goals are an essential part of our vision for a step change in New Zealand. We believe that ultra high-speed broadband, as afforded by fibre-to-the-home, can deliver dividends for New Zealanders in all walks of life."

InternetNZ agrees with Government's vision and does not accept that existing bandwidth is sufficient. "The Government has fully understood that you cannot be talking about productivity without talking about unconstrained broadband."

"A fibre rollout is clearly a nation-building exercise, and as such requires significant investment by the Government. The incumbents need to focus on how they can work with Government to help deliver on the vision, rather than trying to stand in the way," concludes Davidson.

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