I got an email this afternoon from Velocity Networks up in Hamilton. Velocity is a partnership between local government and tertiary institutes which aims to put in place fibre infrastructure for the Hamilton metro area. In their own words;

the combined fibre networks span the city, providing ultra-high speed broadband internet access to commercial buildings at speeds of up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps). Operating as an ‘open access’ community network, users are free to subscribe to services from a range of application and internet service providers on the network.
The project has a number of implementation phases and is expected to be completed by 2010. The initial rollout of the extensive fibre network has been funded by a $3.3 million grant from the Ministry of Economic Development, as part of the Government’s Digital Strategy.

Velocity say that;

A number of well known service providers such as WorldxChange, Kordia, Orcon, FX Networks and Lightwire have already signed up and are now offering their own data and voice solutions across the network…We also have several local internet cafés offering internet access through our fibre network

It’s pretty well accepted now that no one player can muster a business case to put this sort of infrastructure into place. It’s also argued that fast internet is a barrier to growth in this country (I’d add that it’s only one barrier and we need to think about removing the other ones as well). This sort of arrangement is an example of what we should be aiming for.

And by way of proof that it’s actually happening, here’s a picture of the trenching machines hard at work!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

2 Comments
  • This is good to see progress. The picture also highlights a major difference between us and asian countries that have much faster internet. From what I’ve seen in Japan where they experience speeds up to 60Mbit I think, is that the cables are just sprawled everywhere. Rolling out new infrastructure simply means throwing more cables on the power poles, over buildings, through windows, whatever path necessary to get to the customer.

    In NZ however we have to be concerned with keeping our cities beautiful and our cables underground, which while ultimately a good thing also slows our progress. Hopefully while we must start with deployments like this one that wireless technology will advance too making that a viable option for faster deployment.

  • In the short term, deployments of civic centre fibre, where there is a well defined need, are the way forward.

    It will be interesting to see what Labour comes up with in the pre-election Budget. I think it was grossly unfair that only a handful of regions secured funding in the first round.

    As for “build it and they will come”, I have one or two reservations about that theory:

    http://geniusnet.blogtown.co.nz/2007/12/02/do-we-really-need-ubiquitous-broadband-infrastructure/

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