NZ Broadband

January 30, 2009 – 5:18 pm

There hasn’t been a lot of action from the new Government on broadband (or anything, really, yet) but this Economist article is food for thought about spending priorities:

When it comes to promoting economic activity, it is easy to see why having broadband is better than not having it, but most benefits are likely to come from wiring people up in the first place rather than making existing connections hum faster. In Japan and South Korea over 40% of households have fibre links capable of blazing speeds, but that does not seem to have resulted in more rapid economic growth, or the emergence of new applications unavailable to consumers with ordinary broadband.

This argues for something like the Broadband Investment Fund, which is frozen but not dead (political cryogenics), aimed at getting broadband to places that don’t already have it. I still think NZ needs faster broadband to the home (I am personally far less efficient than I would be if I were in the US with blazing-fast broadband) and that the market has not and will not deliver it, but I wonder whether the mood in Wellington for broadband investment has dissipated now the election is over. It was always going to be bloody hard to do, and as the economy melts down there are many more candidates for investment raising their hands. I have no idea how it will play out, but I’m watching it keenly.

  1. 3 Responses to “NZ Broadband”

  2. Hi Nat,

    There are some steps towards faster broadband to the home in NZ (VDSL2) that have been announced in the past couple of days by Telecom Wholesale. For further info, the media release titled “Telecom Wholesale Rolling Out Super-Fast Broadband Technology.” can be found at

    By gianouts on Jan 30, 2009

  3. Thanks for the pointer, Simon. Alas, it’s more than a kilometer to the exchange from here so I shan’t be enjoying the fruits of your labour. I’d love to see a map of NZ showing, for each district, how many people live within 1km of the exchange and what %age of the population that adds up to. It might be 80% of Auckland, for example, but only 40% of the country. Do you have real numbers on that?

    By gnat on Jan 31, 2009

  4. I don’t personally have any numbers but will ask around. has a little bit of info re coverage, although it doesn’t really get into the detail you’re after.

    By gianouts on Jan 31, 2009

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