The news that even third world nations are getting on with the job of rolling out broadband comes as no big surprise. If 300 million global users are now accessing the Internet through high speed networks, then that is a market segment New Zealand simply cannot ignore.
WhilstÂ we continue the academicÂ debate over telco restructuringÂ and the benefits of fibre versus wireless, other countries are getting on with connecting their businesses and emancipating their burgeoning middle classes through fast access to digital content.
New Zealand is brimming over with digital creativity, whilst emerging economies are crying out for it. It’s bad enough that our domestic network speeds are intermittently slowÂ and patchy, but there is clearly now aÂ tangible opportunity cost because our connectivity to the rest of the world is not that flash either.
We have a very fast research network with very little traffic, I’m told there is spare capacity on the Southern Cross cable and there are a number of high speed urban networks in operation or being planned. Surely digital content and applications providers would pay a small premium to be hosted within a high speed network environment with global reach?
What I cannot fathom is with all the smart people involved in theÂ ICT industry in New Zealand,Â why nobody seems capable of makingÂ a goodÂ business case. If we don’t do this soon, then the most exciting digital offering to come out of NZ will likely be websitesÂ flogging insurance or similar.