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NZ Plan For Fiber To the Home

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the pinching-the-air-supply dept.

Communications 169

Ars has a note about New Zealand's plans for nationwide broadband access, which will induce envy in many North American readers. "New Zealand has decided not to sit around while incumbent DSL operators milk the withered dugs of their cash cow until it keels over from old age. Instead, the Kiwis have established a government-owned corporation to invest NZ$1.5 billion for open-access fiber to the home. By 2020, 75 percent of residents should have, at a bare minimum, 100Mbps down/50 Mbps up with a choice of providers. Crown Fibre Holdings Limited is the company, and it's wholly owned by the government — for now — and the company's mission couldn't be any clearer. Two of its six guiding principles include 'focusing on building new infrastructure, and not unduly preserving the "legacy assets" of the past' and 'avoiding "lining the pockets" of existing broadband network providers.'"

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169 comments

Deja Vu (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32492894)

I wonder where that got this amazing original idea from? *cough* Australia *cough*

Re:Deja Vu (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492992)

Yep it appears to be modeled at least partly on the Australian National Broadband Network [nbnco.com.au], although it will no doubt be modified somewhat to suit the NZ telecommunications market, geography and requirements.

Incidentally, actual consumer plans on the new (Australian) network (which has several trial areas already wired up) have just been announced in the last week or two. And they are better value than comparable DSL plans (in terms of download quota), despite the far greater speeds. This will come as a pleasant surprise to those that feared that new, faster tech would also mean more expense.

Taking a look at one ISPs NBN offerings [on.net], initial launch speeds are 25/2, 50/4 and 100/8 Mbit (downstream/upstream), with a choice of quotas from 15 GB (entry level) to 200 GB. And these prices will almost certainly come down further once the NBN is available in more than just a handful of trial areas and more ISPs come on board. I actually suspect we'll eventually see true unlimited plans becoming common (some ISPs such as TPG and AAPT are offer this now, albeit expensively!)

I suspect though that NZers will get their network completed before Australia does due to their smaller land area though (and potentially less political infighting!). Good to see it happening on both sides of the Tasman. Copper POTS networks are on their way out. They have served well for ~100 years, but everyone knows replacing them with fibre is inevitable. Might as well start the job now.

Re:Deja Vu (1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493072)

The NBN is going to be another K Rudd disaster. essentially what they are proposing in Australia is to duplicate telstra at a cost of 43 BILLION. Guess what the market cap of telstra is? 37.7 billion. I'm having trouble deciding if our government is retarded or just incompetent. For the proposed cost of the NBN (which given the Rudd government's hisotry with pink batts and the buildings for school scheme seems 99.9% certain to blow out in cost), they could buy telstra and simply upgrade that networks last mile copper in regional area's and go fibre where economical.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493104)

Yeah true. There are multiple ways it could be done from a political and economic perspective and I don't doubt that the NBN isn't one of the more expensive options. And I'm not a Labor voter so I agree with you that the management of the rollout is almost certain to be stuffed up in some way or another!

I was looking at it more from the high level technical perspective and the need for SOMETHING to be done. Wasn't making a comment on the merits (or not) of Rudd's particular scheme. I think from a technology perspective the NBN is an excellent plan (and beats trying to 'patch up' the existing Telstra network). But yeah, I don't trust the current Government to manage and run the bloody thing ;)

Re:Deja Vu (0, Troll)

ztransform (929641) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493134)

The NBN is going to be another K Rudd disaster

The Labor government in Australia are going out of their way to completely f*** up freedom and information. Want to browse a website about suicide? That's illegal in Australia and an internet filter will stop you! Want to enter Australia? You have to declare you're carrying pornography (yes, I am naked under my clothes)!

I'm having trouble deciding if our government is retarded or just incompetent.

Incompentence is a requirement for being a member or supporter of the Labor party in Australia. But it also helps if you are evil and manipulative.

Re:Deja Vu (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493218)

I'm wondering if you are retarded or incompetent.
Regional areas are where we need fibre the most, the cost of having an upgrade in speed using copper in these areas will require significantly more exchanges to be built without the same benefits that fibre has over copper, doesn't sound very economical not to mention the constant degradation of the state of the copper. Maybe your thinking of rural areas they are defined very differently.
Not to mention you don't have an activist trying to do something he believes is right in a industry they knows nothing about. NBN's CEO Mike Quigley spent 37 with Alcatel before being passed over for CEO due to the merger to become Alcatel-Lucent (Lucent's CEO got the job). Don't discount this project just because it was proposed by Kevin Rudd there are people with skills managing this project not Kevin Rudd.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493348)

constant degradation of copper?? the copper lines in my area were installed 30 years ago and they are still fine. your talking jibberish.

again i tell you to do the maths 37.7B just take a look at where the NBN is being rolled out - tasmainia. he had to horse trade with the greens, so while it'd make a shitload more sense to start in sydney and melbourne and reach 10x more people more quickly for less, he's started at the arse end of australia.

Re:Deja Vu (4, Informative)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493700)

So because the copper's fine in your area, it's magically alright throughout the rest of Australia? Whenever it rains heavily around here we get the usual spike of complaints of faulty lines. It's not just restricted to rural areas either. Back in 2008 parts of Sydney were so bad they were resorting to plastic baggies to (try to) stop the water getting into the wiring in the pits, so much so the Telstra techs nicknamed the city "Baghdad".

Re:Deja Vu (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493494)

it's largely irrelevant, there is no way the network will go ahead, the liberal party will run interference till they eventually get into power and nuke the whole thing. imho i pretty much agree with you but i think fibre to the node even when un-economical would be A Good Thing, but fibre to the home is probably going too far.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493544)

I just hope they sink it before too much money is blown on this. and yeah sure i'd love to have fibre high speed internet, it's the paying for it bit the people don't seem to get. there's no such thing as free.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493236)

Just got to make sure that fiber network is designed in such a way that it's easilly upgradable as newer tech comes along.

Many years ago (long before DSL) telcos in some places ran fiber to the cabinet and then pots/isdn from there to individual properties. This was touted as being the way of the future.

Then DSL came along and those areas were the last to get it because the decentralised system made upgrading a few customers at a time far more expensive (with a traditional exchange you can just put your DSL gear in a seperate rack and jumper the phone lines to it)

Re:Deja Vu (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493638)

Yeah, from the City of Stockholm's -symmetric- 100 Mb/Sec (both ways) cheap, unlimited plan.

They've had it for a while & - unlike silly Australia - they have no plans to sell it later.

Swedes seem to KNOW HOW TO KEEP IMPORTANT ASSETS.

They continue to impress me & as they have since the day I learned that:
Swedes NEVER fight in others' wars.

Neutral means Neutral... as well as higher quality of Life than others enjoy.

Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32492900)

That's wonderful. I just finished traveling through NZ and getting Internet access was an expensive pain. Free wi-fi? Yeah, right.

I Live there (1)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492910)

Good thing I live in New Zealand

Re:I Live there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32492990)

Well, there are no no-limit plans anymore ... this sucks. Especially if you are used to surfing in Europe.

Re:I Live there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493000)

Then you should know this is probably wishful thinking!

Re:I Live there (1)

yuda (704374) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493080)

Yeah and chances are we'll still be paying through the nose for our telecommunications, just over 100 bucks per month was getting me a single phone line and unlimited (throttled) internet. The throttling was so bad that it almost made online gaming unplayable. I would get better ping rates at a mates place even after he'd gone over his data cap and was on a throttled account himself. I've been recently advised that Telecom have removed their "all you can eat" data limit plan, so I've gone to a different company which is charging me $90 for a phone line and a 10 gig cap... We need more competition in our local telecommunication arena and we need it now!

Re:I Live there (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493302)

As a Yankee, I really can't wrap my head around this whole capped usage bit (except in the mobile space)...when Comcast announced their 250GiB data cap a long time back, I was a little peeved, until I realised that there wasn't really much chance of me breaching it. A 10GiB data cap though, I could burn through easily during the normal TV season run, watching my shows an the like. Intellectually, I realise there's only so much the proverbial tubes can handle at once; however the rest of me thinks, why weren't larger 'tubes' built in the first place? The whole situation seems to be that usage has exceeded what companies are willing to shell out to build out, and it's become an 'opportunity' to monetise the whole situation.

Re:I Live there (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493618)

Well think of it this way. In the mobile space, there are data caps to prevent a few users leeching 24/7 and completely saturating the available spectrum and ruining the service for everyone else. It gives network operators some predictability of utilisation and allows them to plan and provision their networks better as a result.

That hasn't been as necessary in the fixed line/wired space (in the US) because there is more bandwidth available, and most content that is accessed is domestic. There are dozens/hundreds of routes and networks an ISP can use to get the few hundred or thousands of miles to the remote hosts that the users are usually accessing. The amount of an ISPs traffic that needs to leave the ISPs domestic network or immediate peers is fairly small.

Australia and New Zealand on the other hand are English speaking countries, 15,000 km from where most English content is hosted. 90% of the content Australians access is hosted in North America (or the UK). But there are only a handful of large capacity pipes to the US. They are expensive to lay and maintain. And they aren't owned by the ISPs themselves. The pipes themselves aren't lacking in bandwidth, per se (there's plenty of spare capacity in SXC and PPC1 which are the two main AU-US routes), but that bandwidth is more expensive in the first place.

Not only that, but from the ISPs perspective, 95% of their damn traffic has to be pulled from the other side of the planet, and from OUTSIDE their domestic network. This is why AU/NZ is different than say, Korea or Japan (who have lightning fast Internet, but are accessing 99% domestic content!). In the US, an ISP with a decent domestic network has most of its traffic remaining inside that network, or passing cheaply to other US domestic carriers. In Australia virtually ALL traffic has to get routed outside the ISPs own network and on to the US via a handful of expensive 10,000 km long cables. Data caps allow AU and NZ ISPs to stay in business and not instantly go bankrupt (or unless you want to be paying $500 a month for service!).

Also yeah, 10 GB is ridiculous but it's fine for someone like my mother who just checks her email once a day (in fact she uses under 1 GB per month). Besides, it's not like higher caps aren't available (10 GB would be an entry level plan only!). I'm on 60 GB/month and it suits my needs fine. And I can upgrade if I need to.

One other thing - metered access also has a silver lining: net neutrality issues like you have in the US aren't a concern. It also means ISPs don't have to do QoS/deep packet inspection/slowing your torrents, since again, you pay for what you use.

Re:I Live there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493886)

Having lived in New Zealand my whole life, I know that it's because the Telcos know they can get away with it.
A large number or New Zealanders are eagerly awaiting ADSL, let alone fiber. The big companies play on their ignorance and feed them the *cough* *cough* cutting edge internet speeds. Why upgrade the infrastructure when people are perfectly willing to pay top dollar for throttled, capped ADSL?
It was only a few years ago that the government took over the phone lines from Telecom and prices have improved since, but I'm still skeptical that things will change any time soon.

And 3Gb data limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32492930)

It's almost unheard of in New Zealand to have internet without monthly download limits.

With ADSL 2 becoming more and more common it's more about the data limits, not the speed.

Re:And 3Gb data limits (5, Interesting)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493066)

Data limits won't change. Fibre-to-the-home doesn't magically increase the bandwidth of transoceanic cables. Bandwidth in and out of NZ will still be just as expensive, so the transfer caps will stay in force.

Re:And 3Gb data limits (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493158)

I was under the impression that part of the problem is that the telecos/ISPs aren't buying enough international bandwidth.

Re:And 3Gb data limits (2, Interesting)

Mistakill (965922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493224)

the issue is, as i believe it, NZ Telecom is the major shareholder of the Southern Cross Cable, the link between the US, and NZ...

thus no matter who you get data from, eventually, they're paying NZ Telecom money, and they're not exactly in a hurry to lower the cost of data, as there is no reason to, due to no real competition

Re:And 3Gb data limits (4, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493400)

Telecom like to give good deals to xtra. An ISP that is a telecom subsidiary. The rest pay full price. I have friends working in NZ ISP's (I did myself at one point) and what goes on behind the curtain is pretty insane. NZ Telecom is so blatantly anti competitive at an illegal level its a total joke. And the consumer watch dog does SFA. Its also difficult to raise the issues legally as telecom will have "technical issues" with your adsl customers, and you go out of business before anything gets done.

Re:And 3Gb data limits (1)

tumnasgt (1350615) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493160)

Far more important news for NZ is the second company that has been started to create another link. The Southern Cross Cable has shit loads of capacity, but as there is no competition, they charge too much and we all tiny caps.

Next on my list of things to fix is the string of stupid internet control systems that people are trying to put in, like the (currently optional) internet filter and the guilty upon accusation copyright law.

Then we need some decent free content, like Hulu and Spotify. Sure, MediaWorks and TVNZ have their streaming sites, but the content is months old before it airs here, which goes to show they are still working on an old business model, where NZ is very detached from the rest of the world.

Once they fix the above, fiber to the home will be most welcome. Then we can deal with the fact there are no requirements for structured cabling in new homes, so most people have no way of actually connecting to fiber.

good plan (5, Informative)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492940)

I spent a month in NZ at a friends house a year ago, and the internet connections where like we had in Finland 10 years ago... Or even worse. They had an ADSL connection limited to 1Mb/s down (and very slow up) with a 2GB monthly limit. After the limit is full it would throttle down to 5KB/s for the rest of the month. The price of the connection was more then I payed for a full rate (8/1) ADSL back at home, with no caps. I guess if this was somewhere far in the countryside I could understand it, but it was in one of the better areas of Auckland!

I do have to admit, that internet connections were far more expensive in Finland too until they made a law forcing telco's to rent out the last mile with pricing based on the true expenses rather to what they feel like. This brought a lot of competition that ended up lowering prices by about half in all areas worth competing in. You still have areas in the country side where the only company offering ADSL is the "old telco" of the area, but that's just because there really is no money to be made. In most of the country the situation improved dramatically, and looking how the government has originally subsidized building the infrastructure I feel the decision was a good one. You can't count on telco's bringing down prices of internet connections, or speeding them up by much.

Re:good plan (4, Informative)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493018)

I live in Auckland and have a reasonably fast connection - much better than the one I had in the UK. I get 6Mbps down, 700Kbps up and have an 80GB cap. There is some competition now so the situation has improved markedly even over the last couple of years and I expect this fibre to the door to improve it even more. Of course we also have to worry about being spied on while we're enjoying our new fast connection. I find it funny that ISPs advertise how fast their connection is in how many movies you can get when there are few legal movie download services. I have an AppleTV and my previous 20GB cap was a serious impediment so I upgraded to 40GB and the ISP offered to double it again if I would commit to stay with them for 12 months. I wonder if caps will still exist once we get fibre because the download speeds are likely to be so high that even 80GB may not be enough.

Also, as someone else commented, it isn't necessarily the speed of the connection to the ISP that is the limiting factor. Often my connection is super fast but accessing sites in the US can be really slow due to traffic making its way across the Pacific. Also, don't get me started on how we suffer from the Aussies censorship decisions - I couldn't even get the proper version of GTAIV because the Aussies don't have adult/M ratings for games and rather than sell us the full version we got shipped the same watered down PG version that Australia got.

At least in Auckland we have broadband, there are still large numbers of people stuck on dialup out in the sticks.....

Re:good plan (2, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493056)

I hate the Australian game censorship problem as much as you do, but to be fair:

- That should be changing quite soon. Michael Atkinson has retired as South Australian Attorney-General. He was the only AG holding back an R18+ game rating in AU. So the wheels are in motion to amend the classification legislation to bring games into line with movies/books etc. Of course, being a slow, political process, it could still be a few years off. But I firmly believe it will happen.

- On the internet filtering side of things, it's not like NZ is any different than Australia in this area [stuff.co.nz]. At least our filter is still only a (very unpopular) proposal - nothing has actually gone live as it has in NZ. :( But either way ... it sucks I agree.

Re:good plan (1)

tumnasgt (1350615) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493172)

Actually, internet filtering is up and running. Vodafone and quite a few smaller ISPs use it. Orcon and Slingshot have told the filter to get lost, Telstra is planning on using it, and Telecom are undecided.

http://internetnz.net.nz/our-work/openness/internet-filtering

AU's religious-right "Family First" will take over (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493758)

I think you'll find a "Family First" MP will take-over the position of Atkinson on this issue; being an important independent with power to decide other issues when the major parties are locked-up, Family Firsters will have to be "bribed" - now & then - with silly restrictions, like the one affecting games, just like they've got the Rudd gov't backing a costly but useless mandatory Internet filter.

I'd like to know: WHO is getting all the $$$ that pays for its roll-out...?

Re:good plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493484)

My parents in the hills of Papakura are still on dial up, broadband isn't possible.

Re:good plan (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493892)

As an Aussie, I'd just like to say sorry. We're not all complete morons, some of us are doing the best we can about this rubbish.

Re:good plan (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493042)

Five years ago maybe. For at least the last couple of years 4 Mb/s / 500 Kb/s and 10 GB caps have been the norm -- let's say "early Iron Age" as opposed to the Bronze Age service you're reporting. All bets are off if you're using Telecom, mind, and reliability is crap no matter where you turn.

As for competition: there are oodles of ISPs, and local loop unbundling is still in progress. The future's looking tolerable as long as Telecom doesn't regain its stranglehold on the country's collective throat. The government filter is a worry though, but thankfully not all ISPs are using it. My pick of the minute: Snap [snap.net.nz], at least if you're in Christchurch or Wellington.

Re:good plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493050)

Hmm. Sounds like your friend had a pretty crap connection, even for New Zealand. One of those $30/month plans. This is what I have:

7.1Mb down, 128Kb up. 50GB cap, with an excess of $10/5GB. Costs me $85/month. I'm not sure what the exchange rate is, but in my city (Dunedin), the median income is around $19,000/year. Average wage is significantly higher, but then we have some extremely overpaid people down here. ($330,000 for 13 hours a week? What's that all about?)

ANYWAY. A few years back, we had a major shake up with our local telco monopoly. You see, many of us had OK internet, no cap, that kind of thing, and we were only paying $50/month for it. Then, Telecom decided that we'd had it too good for too long, and started charging for internal traffic (who was charging them on their own network to cause this?), and pushed prices up through-out the country. Suffice it to say that our internet is shit. Shit bandwidth, shit pings, shit pricing.

Re:good plan (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493108)

No offence, but having 128Kb up with 7Mb down is still pretty sad. I guess somebody has calculated that the Ack's just manage with that rate, but how do you develop pictures from your digicam? Take them to the store with a dvd? I do have to admit I did verify the connection my friend had from the ISP's web pages, but did not check out what the competition was offering (I was just there on vacation and struggling to use VPN to do some work).

Anyway, just for comparison, here in Finland you can get a 24/1 ADSL (no caps) with a 2 year contract for 9,90€ first year and 19,90€ second year. Personally I pay under 50€/month for an uncapped 100/10Mb fiber which has worked at advertised speeds every time I tried.

Finland - Smart -vs- AU/NZ - Dumb gov't policies (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493814)

Finns are known to be intelligent & NEUTRAL. I respect the Finns highly!

By contrast, Aussies & Kiwis are known to be under the thumbs of -dim- governments.

Australia is dumb enough to continue to follow USA into war (to reduce unemployment?)
rather than think of smarter ways to solve its problems.

At least New Zealand is smart enough to think more highly of its people than to
be a pawn on a US chessboard (read: Iraq & Afghanistan).

Re:Finland - Smart -vs- AU/NZ - Dumb gov't policie (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493834)

We do have our own share of problems regarding our government. I would definitely not call them smart. :D

Re:good plan (1)

mr_exit (216086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493296)

That slow upload is still a pain for video conferencing etc, With cable we get a 10Mbs down 2Mbs up and 20Gig monthly limit for about $100

Re:good plan (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493138)

You still have areas in the country side where the only company offering ADSL is the "old telco" of the area, but that's just because there really is no money to be made.

I live outside Hiltulanlahti, which is high-density rural, but lower density than US exurbs (residences along the road are 100-300 meters apart). We have a monopoly telco which stopped laying copper several years ago. Nowadays, it's fiber only for all new houses, carrying TV and telephone as well as internet. They seem to think there's enough money in it: we have 100/10 internet and IP TV for about 65euro/month.

Re:good plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493282)

You're lucky.
I live not all that far from Hamburg, in a little village but only 5km to the next large town, and we have crap service! The most they can manage is a 756kbs down, because they can't be bothered to upgrade the local switching center. And we're not classed as a sufficiently despondent rural area to qualify for the government upgrade assistance (well, telcos forced to upgrade their service), so we're stuck with it

Re:good plan (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493356)

we have 100/10 internet and IP TV for about 65euro/month.

I don't even have the opportunity, without leasing a dedicated line (for gobs of money, haven't even thought of pricing it), for 100/10 access (as a minimum), where I am (Champaign IL, where the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is, home of NCSA). My piddly 12/2 connection tends to barely max at 8/1, though Comcast tries to blame it on my equipment (though I've been through two modems issued by them, 4 routers, all different makes, and 4 NICs (only one of which was a 10Mbps Ethernet card). This, for US$40/mo...and that's the goddamned PROMOTIONAL price, if I've read my bill right.

North Island, only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493532)

I assume this will be in the North (more populated) Island only? (God forbid I RTA).
When I went to NZ in 2003 almost every connection I ran across was dial-up. In the US, I had fibre to my home.
I remember the connections be much more modern in the North Island than the South.
 

Re:good plan (1)

falseflag911 (1634645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493716)

My download speed right now is about 30k for international traffic. Damn NZ internet sux knob! Especially at peak hours - when it almost stops working.

Re:good plan (1)

mrgiles (872216) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493726)

I spent a month in NZ at a friends house a year ago, and the internet connections where like we had in Finland 10 years ago... Or even worse. They had an ADSL connection limited to 1Mb/s down (and very slow up) with a 2GB monthly limit.

*snip*

I guess if this was somewhere far in the countryside I could understand it, but it was in one of the better areas of Auckland!

That seems very odd. I lived in Ashburton about 2 years ago- small town NZ, population around 10,000. I had a cap of 20GB a month and at least 6Mb/s down. I don't disagree, our internet could be a helluva lot better, but the internet plan your friend has is not as good as it gets.

$355 per capita? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492952)

First of all we should be able to mark the article a troll. That's just ridiculous.

Second that's only 355 USD per person I'm guessing they're not going to get everybody for that.

Re:$355 per capita? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32492976)

Just how expensive do you think glass drawn into fibres is?

If *everybody* gets wired, the per-capita cost goes down.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493022)

They don't need to run fibre per person, they need to run it per address. Who knows whether they plan to run fibre to every unit in a block of flats (for example), the number of connections points will be lower than the population so they can spend more per connection.

Re:$355 per capita? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493026)

First of all we should be able to mark the article a troll. That's just ridiculous.

Second that's only 355 USD per person I'm guessing they're not going to get everybody for that.

FFS learn some math.
$355 per person over 10 years is dirt cheap.
It's not even the price of one month's extra internet service per year.
And no, they're not going to get everyone. The title of TFA is "75% of New Zealanders to get 100Mbps fiber by 2020"
Could you fail any harder?

Here's how it works: every fiber builder who takes government money needs to lay basic, unmanaged dark fiber that any ISP can light in order to offer service to a particular home or business. The fiber companies can also run some particular Layer 2 services, but they can't offer full-blown Internet access directly. Instead, they are allowed to sell Internet access to their own retail unit so long as it operates like a separate business, and all other ISPs must be offered access at the same rate.

That is the kind of competition most capitalists talk about, but rarely see in the real world.
If New Zealand doesn't end up with higher speeds and lower costs, I'll eat a sheep's eye.

Re:$355 per capita? (3, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493112)

If New Zealand doesn't end up with higher speeds and lower costs, I'll eat a sheep's eye.

Eat one anyway.
They're good, surprisingly crunchy if cooked properly (quickly grilled by itself, or roasted in the sheep's head). Don't just leave it boiling in a soup - it will dissolve into mush.

Re:$355 per capita? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493910)

I don't think I want to be surprised by a sheep's eye.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493118)

I love how people justify taxation based on spreading it out over time. How many of these "little" projects can politicians contrive before your tax burden or government debt is unreasonable? Is that per person in NZ, or per ISP customer, per tax payer, BTW? Money would be better invested elsewhere.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493170)

Availability of high speed internet access is actually pretty important to modern life, and the economy. It's a legitimate use of tax dollars for government to improve that infrastructure, especially when market forces alone have proved insufficient to do so.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493206)

High speed's a joke with some of the bandwidth caps and the amount charged for excess GB. I lived in Australia for 6 months last year, coming from Canada. I could not believe what the Aussies tolerate for internet, nor the cost. New Zealand doesn't sound much better. Last mile speed was not my impediment to internet usage/participation, but the costs and ISP practices were. My DSL line was never the bottleneck, but rather the link across the Pacific. I'm in the UK now, and although more expensive than Canada, I'm not frustrated by the internet service here in the same way as I was in Melbourne. I stand by my statement that the money would be better spent other ways, or not spent at all.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493234)

Currently there is only one cable connecting NZ to North America, use government funds to build another link that can compete with the monopoly and speed and prices will improve. Same with Australia, although I am reading that competition has improved recently resulting in better speeds and higher caps.

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493190)

I love how people justify taxation based on spreading it out over time. How many of these "little" projects can politicians contrive before your tax burden or government debt is unreasonable? Is that per person in NZ, or per ISP customer, per tax payer, BTW? Money would be better invested elsewhere.

Personally, I think that you can afford a whole lot of such small projects. Really, loads.
We're talking about $355 in 10 yrs. That equals about $1.50 per month. In many European countries, the average tax payer will pay up to 1500 euro in tax. So, you can have 1000 such small projects. Or a number of big ones (such as a war or proper healthcare) and still some small ones.

I see your point that money eventually runs out...
But contrary to popular belief, fast internet is not only used for gaming and facebook - it can also boost the economy, make working from home more popular, educate people, etc. Hell, it may actually be worth the small price to pay... It may actually pay itself back within those 10 years, turning this into a proper investment rather than a simple government expense...


ZOMG! These are all Commies! In Soviet Russia, the government spends you!

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493386)

the problem is you have no choice about the $355. plus what if your one of the 25% who don't get jack shit - you still end up paying part of the $355 share.

and your wrong about lots of little projects not mattering - this year it's the national broadband, then next year that's stalled so we need another $355 for the national wireless, but wait that wireless is killing the bee's (or some other crap) so we need a new tax to cover the save the bee's scheme. do you need how letting government do everything by taxing you ends up as an ultra fail?

Re:$355 per capita? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493344)

$355 per person over 10 years is dirt cheap.

no it's impossibly cheap (which was my point).

And no, they're not going to get everyone. The title of TFA is "75% of New Zealanders to get 100Mbps fiber by 2020"

Whatever it's still only like 450 USD. Good luck to them, but it seems REALLY low ball.

International will still suck (3, Interesting)

kickme_hax0r (968593) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492958)

Yet, this corporation doesn't take into account New Zealand's main bottle-neck: the Southern Cross Cable. Only having one link to the rest of the internet, and that link is owned by a for-profit business, makes for piss-poor international bandwidth. Luckily, there are some people making some noise about laying another cable, just so there's no longer a monopoly and we might actually get some decent speeds.

Re:International will still suck (0)

buttle2000 (1041826) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492996)

When our dystopian society eventually bottoms out, there ain't going to be much to connect to anyway.

Re:International will still suck (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493030)

To be fair, Southern Cross Cable is a pretty nice cable. It's recently had a major upgrade (new wavelengths lit up) and has plenty of spare capacity, so your international bandwidth doesn't *have* to be 'piss poor' - it all depends on how much capacity on it your telcos purchase.

Having said that, I agree that the quality of that link is fairly irrelevant if there's only one link (i.e. a monopoly). That'll never get costs down. We were in a similar situation in Australia of course up until quite recently (Southern Cross, up until last year, was by far the biggest pipe in/out of Australia ... but PPC1 turning on in October made a massive difference - within weeks, quotas on my ISP almost doubled for the same price!).

Re:International will still suck (1)

mudshark (19714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493116)

Fair enough...the **cable** is pretty nice. The ownership and the resulting price structure is the part that's not so flash. Telecom has used the doctrine of artificial scarcity to squeeze ISPs for international transit costs and put the equivalent of a banana in NZ's internet tailpipe. Here's hoping that the competition [geekzone.co.nz] envisioned by Drury, Morgan and Co comes to fruition sooner and not later....

Re:International will still suck (2, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493474)

Telecos may not tell you this. But there are more than that cable servicing NZ international bandwidth. There is at least one going to the west cost of USA and one heading up to japan. They installed the latest pacific cable while i was still living in NZ, with the cable work on one of the beaches in Auckland making the news papers. A new cable like that has serious capacity.

Fact is, most of the "bandwidth caps" and costs have more to do with artificial scarcity and cheaper local infrastructure. As an example I could regularly get +10Mbit to USA at Auckland University pretty much any time of day and often more than 50Mbit. That about as good as i get to USA from here (EU).

Re:International will still suck (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493774)

There are several cables but most won't talk about having a billion dollar investment that is just laying on the beach. Southern Cross was one of the first to talk about their cable publicly.

Setting the bar low (2, Interesting)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 3 years ago | (#32492964)

Isn't this like saying in 2000 "By 2010 we hope 75% of people have a 56k connection"?

10 years is a long time. A real goal would be more like 2Gb symmetrical. Or something.

Re:Setting the bar low (0)

playcat (1723020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493014)

i still have 768/192 kbps... life suck, so do promises...

Re:Setting the bar low (0, Offtopic)

playcat (1723020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493292)

and fuck off for the -1 ;) the fact that you cross-breed with monkey does not make you bad people, just plain old stupid. (on the side note)

Re:Setting the bar low (1)

playcat (1723020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493934)

i guess it could be considered as repeating if i noted here that you guys should fuck off since you are a bunch of morons.
you know, it can't really be considered off topic if some group of people (or an individual) is such a moron(s). it should be considered as a general guideline address them in such a manner occasionally... like i do in slashdotusers case.
the fact that you guys think differently is merely a proof i'm right.
therefore, fuck off morons

Re:Setting the bar low (1)

NiteRiderXP (750309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493040)

In a decade those speeds might be weak.
However, I doubt that the fiber that they lay will become outdated.

Kind of like how DSL runs over copper that was laid decades ago at much higher bandwidth than originally conceived.

The equipment running the system will probably be upgraded over the years without digging up the streets and running new media. The cost will be negligible compared to the initial roll-out.

Re:Setting the bar low (4, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493058)

Yes and no. The thing is, there's 2 parts needed for a connection: some kinda physical link, and suitable tranceivers in each end of the physical link. Changing the physical link (the copper-pair or the optical fibre) is expensive and difficult. Changing the tranceivers on the ends of an existing cable, on the other hand, is as simple as buying a new faster modem (i.e. the consumer can do it himself, and the cost can be less than $100.)

We've got fibre. The current tranceiver is just capable of 1Gbps, but that's just because currently there's no demand for more, and faster tranceivers are expensive today. (infact we're currently subscribing for only 100Mbps of internet-connectivity, so they artificially limit us in their router) If in a decade a gigabit seems puny, the actual physical fibre is capable of at least 1Tbps, with TODAYS tranceivers. (yes, those things are expensive today, but so where gigabit ethernet-cards, once upon a time)

So short answer: Once you've got a decent-quality single-mode fibre to your basement, you've got enough bandwith in the fibre for a while. I don't want to guess if/when a terabit to your home is going to start feeling puny, but I doubt it'll be this decade.

Re:Setting the bar low (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493232)

Once its rolled out, any telco should be able to offer you service too.
From low cost email and light surfing to 24/7 HD options.
Thats the cool thing, its out in suburbia and free of one telco to milk, you have freedom.

What about the bottleneck? (1)

Genocaust (1031046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493002)

So 100/50 is cool all within the mainland for them, but how much content is actually native (ie: how much will this really benefit people)? The bottleneck is still the pipe(s) that feed the island.

Re:What about the bottleneck? (1)

mr_exit (216086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493332)

With Akamai, googles local caches and other content distribution networks bringing the big content closer to users there isn't actually a bottleneck, the southern cross cable isn't close to being saturated, it's just that telecom charge too much for access to it. Competition in the form of more cables is planned and will make a real difference http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3435625/Top-business-figures-in-bold-broadband-bid [stuff.co.nz]

Worthless plan (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493044)

NZ's issue is connectivity with the outside world. Full-rate DSL (up to 26 Mbps or whatever) is common in the cities. It's about $500 a month for unlimited bandwidth anything (aside from one plan with speed caps so bad you can't even play WoW or a single stream of anything). $20 per GB overages. No one in the cities have a problem with speeds to their house. There are some rural areas with poor coverage. But in general the issue is connectivity with the rest of the planet. What they need to be doing is laying fiber to Singapore and HI (bypassing Australia, which is not much better and saddled with filters and such) and get fast speeds to the country.

But Vector and Chorus and whoever they pay to lay the fiber will make a mint. Don't worry, it's not just the USA where the businesses talk the government into spending money.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493082)

I am sick of correcting this!

Australia does not have any internet filtering. There is only a PROPOSAL for doing so (mostly driven by a particular few senators). It hasn't even been introduced as a Bill into Parliament yet. Hell, the legislation hasn't even been ~drafted~ yet. And isn't likely to be, given that this is an election year and the filter is incredibly unpopular.

OTOH, New Zealand already has a live, functioning Internet filter much like the one being proposed in Australia. So your argument about not routing through Australia kinda doesn't make much sense.

If you want bandwidth through to Singapore from NZ, going through Australia makes sense. We already have plenty of capacity up that way (and a buttload more to Guam then onwards to Asia via the new PPC1). But the thing is, 95% of the content we access from AU and NZ is US-based and going the long way around the Pacific Rim sucks (especially in terms of latency ... the difference between ~200 ms direct and ~400 ms via Singapore is a killer for some applications).

Re:Worthless plan (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493366)

Australia does not have any internet filtering.

"Internet censorship in Australia currently consists of a regulatory regime under which the Australian Communications and Media Authority has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a "black-list" of overseas websites which is then provided for use in filtering software." That's from Wikipedia. If I'm misinformed, it's because I've seen that and things like that in many places.

I am sick of correcting this!

Then start by correcting Wikipedia if Australia doesn't have any content restrictions on sites hosted there or a government maintained blacklist.

OTOH, New Zealand already has a live, functioning Internet filter much like the one being proposed in Australia.

Really? I've never heard of any of the proposals where there would be only two tiny companies signed up, with no others interested and the two "members" of the filter are purposefully upselling the fact they filter for families and schools. Is that "much like" the proposals you've heard for Australia? I had heard that it would be compulsory enforcement of the blacklist already created by the government for the purposes of filtering the Internet.

If you want bandwidth through to Singapore from NZ, going through Australia makes sense. We already have plenty of capacity up that way (and a buttload more to Guam then onwards to Asia via the new PPC1). But the thing is, 95% of the content we access from AU and NZ is US-based and going the long way around the Pacific Rim sucks (especially in terms of latency ... the difference between ~200 ms direct and ~400 ms via Singapore is a killer for some applications).

Hence why I had HI in there too. NZ has fiber to Hawaii already, but not enough cheap enough to make the costs affordable for unlimited consumer usage. Maybe NZ should lay enough fiber to HI to sell it to Australia.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493550)

Wikipedia does not need to be corrected. A blacklist that can be used in filtering software (that you install on an end-user PC) is not the same as a blacklist that is mandatory and enforced at an ISP or backbone level.

ACMA maintains a blacklist, yes. That blacklist can be included in third party internet filtering software that consumers can use at their own discretion (net nanny-type software). Such commercial filter software is available in every country. But use of this software is not mandatory in Australia, no different than in the US. It's mostly for schools and libraries and stuff.

ACMA also places restrictions on content hosted ~within~ Australia, yes (or specifically, requires content hosted in Australia to be classified just like movies, books etc).

But neither of those represents a national 'filter' of the type I thought you were talking about. I apologise if I have misunderstood you, but the tone of your post indicated you thought that there was some compulsory, all-encompassing filter ala China.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493588)

dude learn to read. it clearly says "content HOSTED in Australia" and "which is then provided for use in filtering software"

2 isp's signed up for a TRIAL of the PROPOSED filtering solution in Australia. one of them was iinet, which stated very clearly it signed up for the sole purpose of shooting the thing full of holes. telstra the biggest ISP won't even entertain the idea.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493222)

You don't call $500 a month for full rate adsl an issue? As mentioned above, 24/1 adsl with no caps and a 2 year contract can be had for 9,90€ first year and 19,90 second year here in Finland. And I'm fairly sure the companies will still be making a profit as long as they don't need to spend a lot of setting up the connection (that is, connecting your apartment to the dslam does not require somebody coming over to the apartments switching board). I do understand your point about connectivity to the rest of the world and it's definitely valid, but it does seem it's not your only issue. While your isp's will end up paying more for transit, it can't be close to [b]that[/b] much more (since the isp's here in Finland with 5 million population are not any bigger then yours).

Re:Worthless plan (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493294)

You don't call $500 a month for full rate adsl an issue?

Full rate ADSL 2+ costs about $20, but will come with a cap of about 1 GB or 2 GB. The last mile speed is great, it's the cost of the bytes that's the issue. Getting 24/1 DSL in New Zealand is cheaper than your two year average in Finland. You just can't use it in NZ because the backhaul is so expensive that they have low caps.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493262)

I have 14Mbps/700kbps, a 40 GB included, no limits between 1am-7am, and overage outside those hours is very reasonable 1NZD per gig.

(And i can bank my data, so if i don't use my 40gb, it keeps rolling over.)

I'm not unhappy to be honest- i'd rather be transparently sold a cap, and be able to purchase reasonable overage, then some sort of unclear rules around what 'unlimited' really was.

Pacific Fibre may address these wider connectivity to the world problems, but the major issues appears to be people not shopping around and buying retarded internet plans of dominant legacy telcos.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493466)

the major issues appears to be people not shopping around and buying retarded internet plans of dominant legacy telcos.

Well, what are you on? Slingshot advertises numbers close to what you state, but off by an hour here or there on the no limit time, data banking doesn't work like you describe, overages not like you list (unless you count buying $50 overage chunk as $1 per gig) and they don't have a 14/700 plan, but those may be your speeds, as they have FS/FS plans.

And buying that without any other services could be listed as "$80 for DSL, 25 GB cap, overage at $5 per 2 GB." And that isn't bad, but certainly not good enough for everyone to drop their plans and run to them, especially with the rumors I hear that they are lying with FS/FS speeds and actually throttle in busy times, but then, they may just be congested, while the "legacy telco" delivers their listed rates 100% of the time (at a cost).

But, either way, stating what you are raving about without listing it makes it sound like you don't want anyone to check your statements. Feel free to let everyone know what you are talking about.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493504)

I have said this before. I worked for ISPs in NZ, I have friends working for ISPs in NZ now. There are other cables. At least one to the US and at least one in the general direction of Japan(don't remember where is goes exactly anymore). I also worked for telecom for a while. The cost of bandwidth on any of these cables is so low (cents per 100Gb), that bandwidth caps have more to do with telecom than any other single factor.

Re:Worthless plan (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493974)

References please. Last time I looked, the SSC system was the only cable network in place that even comes close to the capacity needed to service NZ's internet requirements. Every other cable I'm aware of is several orders of magnitude slower, and therefore not even worth bringing to the table...

If, as you claim, there are actually other cables of meaningful capacity (which I personally doubt), there will be available data to support this - care to provide us with a link or two?

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493100)

This sounds good until you realize what usually happens with crown corporations. After they've matured, private investors and the like start stirring up shit about how bloated the crown corp has become and that it's wasting taxpayer's dollars needlessly - and that privately owned businesses will do the same job more efficiently!

People will for some reason agree with the planted ideas, forgetting that privately owned, government granted monopolies probably do things more efficiently - but they still suck the same amount of money out of the citizens, if not more.

A few years later, lobbying will hit full force to privatize the corporation, and the second the country takes a minor downward swing in the economy, it will be turned over to private investors.

yeah. dump free enterprise. brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493180)

A few years ago I heard that Costa Rica was doing DSL everywhere -- a govt-run deal. Interesting. At the time, I thought it was brilliant. Now, I look at it and wonder why... when it's driven by the market, people who are boonified (hick talk for way out in the boonies) don't get it maybe (or maybe a satellite company invents DirecWay and gives it to them if it's a big enough market), while people in the bigger areas do. That's ok! nothing wrong with that. They don't like it, they can move to wherever the opportunity works for them the best. Maybe the tradeoff is worth while. Maybe (gasp) they actually dont' want to be bothered out in the middle of nowhere with phones or net!

You want to know why Silicon Valley can't be copied by other governments around the world? Because govts try to copy it! Instead, just get rid of corruption and taxes and stand back.

Free enterprise would probably get this (sufficiently large pipe to home) before 2020 in the most efficient manner. Ten years ago, I had a modem. Now I have 20 Mb/s. It's 2010. If I don't have way past 1Gb/s in another 10 years, I'll be pissed. I expect to get 50 to 100 Mb/s within 3 years. Charter (my ISP) already has 60.

Love it how everyone thinks government is either a) the most efficient way to do things or b) the way for "underserved" people out in the boonies to get something. (to the latter, I say -- free enterprise. something will come up to fill the need... DirecWay? Otherwise, move out of the boonies. running fiber to the boonies might actually be the most efficient way to do long runs, but it's debatable due to low durability of fiber and cost to run. In any event, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone except govt and monopolies)

If you really want to see these things happen fast, force telephone pole owners to open up their poles... or just get out of the way and see if they enter into all kinds of crazy agreements.

real life -- and free enterprise -- is messy. it's art. it's darwinian. And, dammit, it may somehow infringe on some boonified dude who has a fundamental right to the internet, but again 1) that dude should move to where he gets the best opportunity (if you move to Mars of your own free will, do we still have to give you free healthcare? is it a fundamental human right?), and .... 2) is net access a human right? i mean, seriously. i think it is, too, of course (please don't take my geek card away) but seriously.

govt solves nothing except making your pocketbook lighter and building bureaucracy to further empower itself. the only thing govt is good at is ... trying to think at something it does well.... can't think of a thing. I'd say defend the country, but i'm not even sure it's all that great at that, just that there's currently no one else. guess it's just best when it's kept on a tight leash.

Re:yeah. dump free enterprise. brilliant (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493358)

Nice if you have competition, the free market and live in a city or suburbia.
"Something will come up to fill the need" is mostly rust belt lock in tech with a demand to keep others out due to the roll out costs, expected long term pay back and costly upgrades.
Like roads, bridges, clean water and the ability to dial 911, many parts of the world see it as nation building vs say a municipal golf course.

Burn it Up! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32493270)

That means I'll be able to burn through my data cap in 11 min. flat. After that I'll have 29d 23h 49m left to stare at my the last episode of lost and wonder WTF just happened.

Just like NZ says it's the greenest nation around so too will the lie be heard: "we have the best internet service one the planet."

Meanwhile in Singapore... (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493380)

More benefits of being that small island in the middle of everywhere: we had this years ago.

Of cause, being "Not in America", latency in gaming is still horrible. Bah humbug.

There is a SMART way to do this. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32493648)

The hard (read expensive) part of any comm link to homes/businesses, is the last mile. NZ would be smart to create a gov. owned monopoly that covers from the residence to the green box. Then allow different companies to compete at providing fiber and services to the greenbox. The advantage of this is that each greenbox will end up with multiple fibers coming in. While less efficient, each greenbox will actually have redundancy. More importantly, it will introduce competition for services while allowing easy upgrades down the road.
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