Details on New Zealand's Ultra-Broadband Effort

Next Generation Communications Blog

Details on New Zealand's Ultra-Broadband Effort

By Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

New Zealand is a remote place, which may explain why most people know little more about it than that it served as the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movies.

The now-concluded HBO series Flight of the Concords also had a lot of references to New Zealand, but it could be tough to discern which ones were real (I checked, and it seems there actually is a toothbrush fence) and which were created for comedy value.

In any case, there’s now a real and important effort going on in New Zealand that involves the creation of a nationwide ultra-broadband network. That state-of-the-art network will help New Zealand’s citizenry and businesses communicate with one another and the rest of the world, and to access existing and next generation information and applications. It’s also intended to make New Zealand a more important player on the world economic stage and to give the country a competitive edge over others in attracting business.

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“Having that ubiquitous broadband access in a country like New Zealand that has a strong theme of ingenuity and entrepreneurship, this allows them access to global markets, and I think it brings a lot of things beyond what you can measure on the macro level at the micro level, which is really important to the local communities,” explains Sean O’Halloran, CSO at Alcatel-Lucent, a key supplier for the New Zealand effort.

In fact, New Zealand’s push for nationwide broadband is the subject of an interesting case study and two videos by Alcatel-Lucent. The first is about the case study in general and the second includes and an interesting interview which includes comments by Hon Steven Joyce, New Zealand Minister for Economic Development.  

The New Zealand government set up Crown Fibre Holdings to spearhead the ultra-broadband effort. Crown Fibre Holdings decided to create a private-public partnership to spread the project’s risk and contracted with local fiber companies to deploy the open access infrastructure. Chorus was awarded 70 percent of the build; three other companies are sharing the remainder of the business.

Chorus is leveraging Alcatel-Lucent’s GPON access technology to enable 100mbps download and 50mbps upload rates. It’s also using Alcatel-Lucent’s IP multiservice core platform further upstream. Alcatel-Lucent, which is the communications system integrator for the New Zealand build, is also providing 24-hour management and fault rectification services to Chorus as a managed service. In addition to operating the NOC, Alcatel-Lucent is heading up an ng Connect effort in New Zealand to support market trials and other work to support the creation of new and innovative applications and services.

Already, dairy farmers – who once had to record data about cows in a book and then re-enter that information in a computer later on – now can access and enter needed information wherever they are from smartphones. Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is integrating the online experience into education and has implemented a rent to own device program in select low-income areas in the country. Cloud-based businesses in the New Zealand, such as point of sale software provider, are also excited about how the ultra-broadband network will help them support and grow their companies.

The ultra-broadband network also sets the stage for broadband service providers to leverage that connectivity and pair it with data analytics to create new opportunities in advertising, retail, municipal, and other business environments. That includes faster price optimization in stores, the ability to offer real-time maintenance on cars and other items, and more.

New Zealand, which currently has a population of 4.5 million, plans to bring the ultra-broadband network to 86 percent of its rural customers by 2016, and to 75 percent of its citizens by 2020. It expects the network to create $26 billion in value over 20 years.


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