By Erin Harrison
New Zealand is on the brink of a new era in communications. Two major initiatives will significantly help improve the speed and capacity of the country’s high-speed broadband network, as outlined in a recent Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) white paper, “How New Zealand can increase the social & economic impacts of high-speed broadband.”
The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) project and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) are set to improve the network speed and capacity available to nearly 98 percent of New Zealanders, based on a study conducted by Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent. The goal is, as ALU likes to say about its broadband portfolio, “Get to Fast, Faster.”
The study explored the social and economic impacts for New Zealand of UFB and RBI, and the high-speed broadband applications that these networks will enable, ultimately showing the incremental growth in GDP stemming from the network builds will be $5.5 billion over 20 years, significantly larger than the government’s $1.5 billion capital contribution to these projects.
The study offers ideas on how New Zealand can positively impact three key variables, therefore increasing the economic benefits stemming from the UFB and RBI networks, and the broadband applications that will be delivered across them. The key variables are:
- Availability of relevant applications
- Speed of broadband application adoption
- Total level of broadband application uptake
While video is one of the key drivers behind the surge, demands go beyond entertainment. Governments worldwide recognize the socio-economic benefits that broadband can bring, and have set targets for universal broadband, according to ALU, which provides high-capacity fiber, copper access and 4G LTE solutions aimed to help service providers, utility companies and governments accelerate delivery of ultra-fast broadband in the most cost-effective way possible.
In fact, Alcatel-Lucent has been in New Zealand since the 1920s, building and maintaining the country’s telecommunications infrastructure. Alcatel-Lucent says that ICT innovation can be a powerful catalyst for social and economic development.
Alcatel-Lucent’s ng Connect Program aims to bring together infrastructure, device, application and content companies to create an end-to-end ecosystem to rapidly develop new services and applications. The company launched the ng Connect Program in New Zealand in late 2011 to help local companies, universities and research institutions collaborate with global leaders on high-speed broadband applications, for use by New Zealand end-users and to generate export earnings.
Under the UFB and RBI initiatives, 75 percent of New Zealanders will have access to ultra-fast broadband. Schools, hospitals and 90 percent of businesses will be connected by 2015. In addition, residences and the remaining 10 percent of businesses will be connected by 2019.
Businesses with large employee bases can help accelerate application adoption and create a so-called bow-wave of high-speed broadband uptake by using UFB and RBI as the basis for large-scale teleworking initiatives. To drive this aggressive level of uptake, the CXOs of large organizations need to champion this massive-scale teleworking and communication effort in New Zealand.