Peter Griffin writes about his experience witnessing the Dutch program of Government rolling out Fibre to the Home (FTTH) throughout Amsterdam. Peter says;
The Dutch, you see, are where New Zealand needs to be this time next year – blowing fibre through underground ducts in order to get better broadband to large numbers of homes and businesses.
Of course he’s partially right – New Zealand does need FTTH and the faster more reliable internet speeds it brings. However, as always, there’s a big difference for NZ. Rolling out fibre to a city of 1.5millions inhabitants within a tight geographical area with close to 10 millions inhabitants is very different from what would be required to get FTTH here.
So the challenge for New Zealand isn’t simply that the Government should pay for/facilitate FTTH, this in itself is nowhere near enough. The challenge is in rebuilding our economy into a high value one such that the investment in infrastructure is worthwhile. The facts is we’re struggling to identify businesses that truly need FTTH – everyone pulls out Peter Jackson/Weta Workshops and their ilk but these are very much the exception rather than the norm (and arguably a small number of players could be provided with ultra high speed access in clustered business/technology parks).
The fact is that the vast majority of our GDP comes from primary production with little or no need for FTTH – until we reinvent our national income stream, any discussion that looks at FTTH in isolation is meaningless.