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Telco hits out at National’s fibre plan

Written By: - Date published: 3:47 pm, September 2nd, 2008 - 34 comments
Categories: national, telecommunications - Tags: , ,

John Drinnan in the NZ Herald:

“One of the biggest challengers in the telecommunications business, TelstraClear, has attacked National Party plans for a fibre-optic network, saying the party should be focused on business.

“The telco says the main result of faster broadband links to the home may be more downloads of pornography and movies rather than improvements to productivity.”

34 comments on “Telco hits out at National’s fibre plan”

  1. Dom 1

    So National is actually supporting faster downloading of porn? I may have to rethink my vote…

  2. randal 2

    national have always pandered to the bigger faster longer crowd but this time its all dust…hohohoho

  3. lprent 3

    Telstra-clear is articulating my objections to this plan. I just can’t see how it improves sales offshore. Ultimately that is what we depend on.

    This isn’t an isolated or even a partisan opinion. It seems to me that the people who want this as a infrastructure strategy are those who don’t work close enough to the IT/business interface. For instance I ran across this a while back at businessday.

    Williamson v Cunliffe at the Hyatt ballroom just after the Nay’s announced the policy.

    Telco CEOs will always advocate points of view that promote their own agenda, so they can’t be seen as promoting the public interest, but it’s clear National has not persuaded key industry figures that its scheme is worth the price of admission. This could be a big problem, because these are the people first in line to put their hands in their pockets if National’s FTTH plan is to get off the ground.

    Remember that the Nay’s plan is to put up about half of the money and for the telco industry to do the rest. Guess what, they just don’t think it is a viable way to get more business, either for themselves or the NZ economy.

    The post isn’t all that complimentary about some parts of Cunliffe’s policies either. But rather than having a single macro-vision think big project, Cunnliffe is pushing lots of smaller projects. Some will work, some will fail, and some will be negoitated. It is a lot safer than throwing money at a solution for which there is no problem.

  4. Tamaki Resident 4

    but they’re the party for business aren’t they?!

    Slightly related: Did anyone else hear the piece on Nat Radio yesterday where physios (small business people) were saying that they do NOT want de-reg of ACC (for a variety of good reasons)?

  5. infused 5

    What a stupid thing for Telstra to say.

  6. randal 6

    no that is not true. I think Telstra have a much better idea of how much capacity the I-way needs in New Zealand and far more insight to the needs of business than the egg heADS IN THE NATIONAL PARTY

  7. Rakaia George 8

    It’s a valid point that VDSL2 (say) in conjunction with Telecom’s current FTTN roll-out might be good enough for now, but it also worth bearing in mind that the company articulating that point currently has no FTTH solution whereas Telecom has FTTH customers live already.

    If the FTTH boat sails now, Telstra Clear have missed it so it’s in their interest to delay departure. They have a good core network though, so are well positioned for wireless and xDSL services.

    Their position is good business sense and advocacy, just as National’s is good politics. The great unwashed understand “fibre to the home” – the message cuts through.

  8. randal 9

    I dont think so. the electorate wants health services and education and wff long before they want to sit round downloading porn and playing mindless infantile games.

  9. jbc 10

    That sounds like a spectacularly dumb-ass comment from Telstra – regardless of what you think of National’s plan.

    Reminds me of a comment that CLEAR’s ex-ex-ex-ex (?) CEO, Andrew Makin, made (to a meeting of all staff) back in ’94 or ’95. Something along the lines that the Internet is just a passing fad and CLEAR has no plans to take it on as a product.

  10. Tamaki resident 11

    Thanks Lew. I heard it during the after 10pm round-up so wasn’t sure when it was originally broadcast.

    It’s worth a listen as it clearly indicates that the ACC proposals are not all upside for those involved – providers included.

  11. randal 12

    looks like national needs some protein to go with the lack of fibre

  12. lprent 13

    jbc: Yes I remember that. That brought back memories

    Thought it was weird then – even weirder now.

  13. jeremy eade 14

    Faster online is faster communication and communication is what slows
    most of our business down….and ya get Porn and movies…..and history and essays and a multitude of educations for all wired generations 2 to 102.

  14. Rakaia George 15

    Yeah, whatever Randal. The point is, that whatever the electorate do, or don’t want, they understand the concept of FTTH where anything else is unintelligible jargon.

  15. We are light years behind the rest of the world in broadband, its a disgrace to the labour party, not only is our speed nowhere near other countries, but the download limits are worst than Angola. We need a government who will fix it.

  16. Stephen 17

    I for one am sick of Brett’s socialist nanny state agenda.

  17. Draco TB 18

    FTTH is nice but it needs the backbone to support it. Without that backbone then there is very little that can be done at a household level that will be productive. With a backbone that can support throughput multiple times what can be done now then we become a country that could bring in business such as servers for Blizzards World Of Warcraft. We can’t do so ATM simply because the bandwidth costs too much.

  18. Pascal's bookie 19

    Nice one Johnty.

    You’ll find links to Wishart’s place or Kiwiblog conveniently listed on the left of your screen.

  19. Pascal's bookie 20

    Feel free to delete my redundant posts

  20. Johnty Rhodes 21

    I wondered how long that woulkd last:)
    But seriousley, we need a to start somewhere with faster broardband surely. Faster BB may lead to more people working from home (less GH emissions) and it will help educate kids more.

  21. jbc 22

    Lynn, I wonder about the motives of some of these telco people. I suspect that the view expressed does not represent all players in the market. Not sure what TUANZ has to say.

    I have a nagging suspicion that telcos like to wring money out of aging infrastructure for as long as they can get away with it – and as long as it remains competitive with the other players. Often they are dragged kicking and screaming into launching new technology.

    FTTH is surely a large and risky investment for any one company.

    As for the benefits: it is very sensible to question this. It would be silly to sink billions into something with no tangible gain.

    I can see the benefit of having a high bandwidth link from home to business. I have 10Mb/s now and I find this invaluable. It saves me many car trips and a lot of time to be able to work from home when I need to. VOIP and video calling are now extremely usable and useful yet are often overlooked. I would be at a huge loss without all of these.

    The only problem is that sometimes even 10Mb is not enough.. and it is asymmetric too. Give me gigabit.

    You could call this aspect a productivity gain I suppose. If it reduces the need for transport then that’s good too.

    Sure, teleworking was hyped a decade or so ago and never really delivered. Video the size of a postage stamp and tediously slow data transfer. Perhaps if the infrastructure was there the outcome would be different.

    I suspect that some of the GDP boosters we will not know about until more bandwidth is in place – simply because they have not been invented yet. Kiwis are great innovators. Perhaps with ubiquitous high bandwidth some new and world-leading technologies will emerge.

    Perhaps it would launch many new businesses.

    That is a very big ‘Perhaps’, I’ll agree.

    The proposed timeframes for implementing this FTTH thing are also impossible.

  22. lprent 23

    The biggest hassle with home-working is the insecurity of the managers from my experience. I have 8M odd down and and 800k up and have had for a while. That is enough for file system connections, and remote RDP connections. But I damn near had to set up a company so I could use it for working from home.

    These days I could boost that to 24M down and 1M up. I’d still have the problem with managers accepting working from home.

    The other problem is with other services. The connections to the exchanges are still crap. Fix them first which is part of the current upgrades anyway.

    In the end, infrastructure has to help with exports – GNP rather than GDP, because that is the only way to boost wages and employment in the long term. All of my stuff since Clear has been involved with export for that reason.

    I can’t actually see how fibre to the home will help with that. As far as I can see this will all be used for things unrelated to offshore sales. I can’t see the reduction in internal costs either compared to copper. People who need fibre (mainly the video media people) who want it can pay for it. It isn’t useful infrastructure.

    Now putting in more international bandwidth and reducing its price would be useful. So would increasing the internal network bandwidth in NZ so you can actually get to the Netgate etc without dropping speed would also be useful. Pity it doesn’t sound as sexy as FTTH.

    As far as I can see all of those things need to be done before the FTTH is viable anyway.

  23. sean 24

    Have any of you monkeys ever heard the quote “640k should be enough?”. Your comments here have proven what a short-sighted pack of no hopers you are.

  24. lprent 25

    Yep. Still doesn’t matter – no point putting FTTH is you don’t have the infrastructure to support it. Is there enough bandwidth on southern cross? Nope.

    It’d be like putting a fast video card on a 16bit bus.

  25. jbc 26

    sean, yes. you beat me to it. How long before the original 4 lanes on the harbour bridge were not enough?

    A couple of years back I was thinking that 10Gb Ethernet was unnecessary for the project I’m working on. Now I have my eye on it.

    My wife does not work in IT yet she regularly shuffles around 10’s of gigabytes of data (print / image).

    This FTTH project – no matter who runs with it – will take 6 to 10 years (that’s just my wild guess). By then the crusty 50 year old twisted pair will look rather insufficient. If we wait until then we will be continuing the perpetual catch-up game with the rest of the developed world.

    Today I can get 100Mb/s (asymmetric) via the HFC to my home (not NZ). The govt here is already calling for interested parties to build the next generation broadband network.

    NZ leads the world in some areas – yet seems determined to follow in others.

  26. jbc 27


    A cable can be strung across the Tasman a lot faster than trenches all over NZ.

    Having said that, fibre already sunk can run faster with new technology. A lot faster than copper. From the Southern Cross website:

    Southern Cross has the potential to increase its total protected capacity to at least 1.2 Tbit/s using 10G technology already deployed on the network?

    Sounds fast to me.

  27. Askewed 28

    Southern Cross is not at full capacity (not even close) – its basically only limited by the gear you chuck on at the connection points.

    But anyway, there is still a huge content issue which needs to be addressed within NZ. Outside of porn, trade me, and file sharing – NZ isnt really using the web that much. Most of our large retailers lack online shopping capabilities – despite the obvious potential with our sparse population.

    Also FTTH is a worthy goal – but everything comes with a cost. If you take a look at US telco Verizon’s FiOS (FTTH) monthly charges (http://www22.verizon.com/content/consumerfios/packages+and+prices/packages+and+prices.htm ) to get 50mps down its US$139 a month. The Nats are also grossly underestimating the time it will take to build it – its taking Singapore four years to build an FTTH network – and thats about 15 square km – and they reckon we can do it in 6 years!?! They obviously havent heard of the skill shortage either – so god knows where they are finding this army of technicians?

    This country has limited resources so I think Govt should be focussing on building on Telecom’s FTTN (fibre to the node) rollout and look to take that to VDSL2 in the shorter term. Govt should also take a technology neutral approach to extending coverage beyond the DSL footrpint – wireless and satellite are undoubtedly going to be the most efficient option for reaching rural areas.

  28. jbc 29

    The Nats are also grossly underestimating the time it will take to build it – its taking Singapore four years to build an FTTH network – and thats about 15 square km – and they reckon we can do it in 6 years!?!

    About 700sq km, but yes, a hell of a lot smaller and much more densely populated. A much easier job.

    I thought the Nat’s plan was an even sillier 3 yrs? But whatever, yes way too short.

    Where to find technicians? There might be a lot of idle fibre-laying hands in the USA over the coming years.

    This country has limited resources so I think Govt should be focussing on building on Telecom’s FTTN (fibre to the node) rollout and look to take that to VDSL2 in the shorter term.

    Perhaps, but does it have to be Telecom’s? Agreed that FTTN might be a sensible first step forward, but FTTH should be the ultimate goal. Wireless is behind copper as far as bandwidth goes (thinking of the physics of transmission as understood today).

  29. Swampy 30

    It is just the latest piece of sour grapes from Telstra, who are still looking for ways to trample on Telecom.

  30. swampy, i’m drunk, what are you doing up at 2.22am, nz time?

    captcha: comtemplated pause

  31. Matthew Pilott 32

    It’s a valid point that VDSL2 (say) in conjunction with Telecom’s current FTTN roll-out might be good enough for now, but it also worth bearing in mind that the company articulating that point currently has no FTTH solution whereas Telecom has FTTH customers live already.

    If the FTTH boat sails now, Telstra Clear have missed it so it’s in their interest to delay departure. They have a good core network though, so are well positioned for wireless and xDSL services.

    Rakaia George, I may be well off track but I’m not aware of any Telecom fibre, yet Telstra operates a network in Christchurch and Wellington, their latest plan is 25MB I believe, for about $250 a month.

    Forgive me if I am completely off trach though…

    But I can’t quite understand your comment – I’d have thought it was the other way around if anything – Telstra, having paid to start their own fibre network, don’t want the other players given easier access to the market. Given that they have a head start, though, they’d be in a better position to make use of either National or Labour’s plans, so I can’t see what their complaint is really about (apart from the bit where they talk about what people use if for – perhaps all the ‘warp speed’ downloads are smut and torrents).

  32. lprent 33

    MP: Also Auckland, at least there is fibre from telstra-clear running out in two locations that I’ve dealt with. Newmarket and at least some parts of Albany

  33. I always read your blog in high spirits. Thanks 🙂

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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