Friday, October 29, 2010

Labour to review regulatory exemption in first term

Stuff.co.nz posted an article stating that the Labour government if it came to power in its first term would look to review and exemption to the Telecommunications Act that prevents UFB being regulated for the first 10 years.

The exemption is there to provide certainty to partners from the private sector investing in UFB according to Communications Minister Stephen Joyce, and the effect of removing the exemption could be to drive up prices for UFB.

Click the link below to read more.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Kordia an option for UFB backhaul?

Kordia's recent victory over TelstraClear to light up more fibre in their jointly owned network presents another backhaul option for the government in their $1.5b UFB initiative Stuff.co.nz reports.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And the winners are...

A Computerworld article takes a look at the three tenders to pass the first hurdle for UFB contracts. The first three companies are Northpower, Central North Island Consortium, and Alpine Energy.

Click the link below to learn more about these three companies.

Read More (Computerworld)

UFB. Where does Telecom fit?

Another opinion article this time by Scoop discussing the role of the small regional fibre groups in the UFB plan, the scale of the work they've committed themselves to, what it all means for Telecom.

Click the link below to see more.

Read More (Scoop)

UFB still a risky prospect?

Stuff.co.nz have posted an opinion piece stating that despite the election win of the Australian Labour Party, which in turn is a vote to move forward with the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN), UFB still seems like a shakey proposition for New Zealand.

While admitting it's important New Zealand keep pace with Australia, in the current economic times few governments are in a position to invest in building a fast broadband network while at the same time they pare back other state services. This includes Britain, Europe, and the US where voter support is lacking.

An interesting perspective, click the link below to read more.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Telecom Structural Separation Discussion

The Ministry of Economic Development have posted a document discussing the structural separation of Telecom and are seeking views from interested parties.

See the link below for more information. Submissions are due by 5:00pm on the 15th October 2010.

Read More (MED)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Telecom - Chorus de-merger still leaves a monopoly

The New Zealand Herald has posted an article stating that according the Ministry of Economic Development, the de-merger of Chorus from Telecom as part of the companies UFB bid will still leave a network level monopoly.

The MED document referred to in the article states "Structural separation would not affect the underlying problem of limited competition at the network level, which confers market power on the network owner".

See the full article at the NZ Herald website.

Read More (NZ Herald)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Government's "cut too many corners", says Newman

Ernie Newman slammed the government's UFB initiative while speaking in Wellington at the National Forum of Economic Development according to a Stuff.co.nz article.

Newman raised concerns that there has been little planning around what the key objectives are relating the government's scheme, and more focus on getting the technology delivered as quickly as possible. "We are working through the implementation without having a clear vision of the end point we want to achieve.", says Newman.

See the Stuff article link at the bottom of this post to read more.

The outgoing TUANZ CEO raises some interesting points. Questions the public should be asking are things such as what are we getting for our tax dollars, what services are targeted for UFB, when will the services be delivered, and so forth.

Also of concern is the current shroud of secrecy surrounding negotiations for the local fibre company contracts. As citizens are sharing in the capital expenditure, should they be privy to negotiations and/or have a say in the chosen partnerships?

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Axia may withdraw rural broadband bid

Vodafone supported Axia NetMedia has dropped hints that it may drop out of its rural broadband bid as reported by the National Business Review last Friday.

This follows the governments announcement last Thursday on the successful participants for stage one of the UFB initiative of which Axia was the only tender not included.

Axia NetMedia's share price fell 4% following the announcement.

Read More (NBR.co.nz) | Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Long wait for Telecom on UFB decision

Stuff.co.nz has posted an article stating that Telecom investors can expect to wait longer for the governments decision on the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative.

While initially the government indicated discussions would conclude by October, Communications Minister Stephen Joyce has stated that a number of contracts will be signed by then, however it was never his expectation to have it all wrapped up by October.

An announcement was made last Thursday that the government would begin negotiations for 8 of the 33 cities in the scheme with fibre companies. Telecom was not one of the companies.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Guaranteed VDSL2 Speeds

With the impending roll out of VDSL2, Telecom has stated that it will guarantee speeds of a minimum 15 Mbit/s down, and 5 Mbits/s up. If customers are unable to meet that speed, they will be returned back to an ADSL service.

VDSL2 can attain speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s on the Telecom network, and theoretically the technology is capable of going much higher. However the service is dependent on short, good quality phone lines to attain these high speeds.

The technology regardless could be a very serious competitor to UFB, with a significantly less investment required to deliver.

Read More (Computerworld) | VDSL2 (Wikipedia)

Not time for FTTH?

Telecompaper have posted a summary of a report from Analysis Morgan which states network operators in developed countries should consider focusing on copper based technologies, such as VDSL, instead of rolling out expensive fibre based technologies.

Reasons listed include low uptake of high speed technologies, public spending focus on mobile, a lack of new devices and services, and a difficulty converting the costly capex spend into actual revenue. The report also comments that governments may better choose to focus their spending on education and health in the current economically challenging times.

This article will hit home with many as the New Zealand government prepares to move forward with decisions on who will partner in their $1.5 billion Ultra Fast Broadband initiative.

Read More (Telecompaper) | Read More (iTWire)

FX Networks receives award

New Zealand Fibre company FX Networks received a Next Generation Fibre-Optic Network Award at the TUANZ awards.

FX is currently in competition with Telecom and other LFC bidders to partner in the UFB initiative, and is awaiting the government to make its decision later in the year.

Read More (NBR)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

NZRFG to begin construction before christmas?

Lines and fibre company collective the NZRFG are preparing a Request for Information (RFI) surrounding their plans on a common service organization for UFB which they've pitched to the government.

Voxy.co.nz writes the NZRFG "remains intent on winning the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) and rural broadband initiatives (RBI) outright and wants to have construction underway before Christmas".

The collective would bring a fresh face to the New Zealand broadband game, with new systems and solutions in addition to the newly built infrastructure. Group CEO Vaughn Baker believes the key to the success of the initiative is to move now. "It's imperative we give ourselves a head start because with every delay, we miss out on something great, something revolutionary" says Baker.

Mr Baker also expressed his concerns that Telecom conditional participation will delay the process, saying "If other parties aren't ready to build a fibre network that we all agree is an urgent priority for our economic prosperity, then that really only leaves the members of the New Zealand Regional Fibre Group to do the job".

However the RFI is a bold move forward, with the government only due to make an announcement on their preferred partners several weeks from now.

Read More (Voxy.co.nz)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Huawei to hold NZ telco event

Telecom solutions provider Huawei will be holding an event for the telco industry from the 15th to 17th September in Auckland according to a recent article by Computerworld magazine.

The event is an opportunity for members of the industry such as telco's and line companies to hear key players in the industry speak and attend technology workshops in advance of the governments decision on who will take a share in the $1.5 billion UFB initiative.

Huawei is hoping to beat other technology vendors to the punch in supplying fibre infrastructure to the successful LFC's.

A global company having served over 50 telcos, Huawei is currently the the supplier for 2degrees mobile network infrastructure.

Read More (Computerworld)

Vector CEO discusss network ownership

Stuff.co.nz have posted an interview with Vector CEO Simon McKenzie where he discusses UFB and Vector's ability to leverage off their existing extensive electricity and gas network in their bid, the future services the network may deliver, and the challenges to face in attaining the goal of a fibre future.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Monday, August 30, 2010

NZTA concerns regarding Micro-Trenching

New Zealand Transport Authority head Ian Cox has expressed his concerns regarding plans that would see Chorus, Vector, TelstraClear, Opto Networks, and Waikato BOP Fibre trial laying fibre through micro trenches in roads.

The narrow and shallow trenches, which can be made with a circular saw, would simplify the task of laying fibre optic cables to homes throughout New Zealand, increasing the likelihood that the governments plan will come in on time and under budget.

Cox however believes the micro trenching would increase road maintenance costs and increase the likelihood of damage to the fibre optic cables. There may also be increased costs to contractors having to avoid the cables whilst performing road maintenance.

Read More (Telecompaper)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vector reports 176m profit

Vector has reported a $172.6 million profit, 4.6% up on revenues of $1.19 billion with the governments decision on who the suppliers will be for the UFB broadband initiative due out soon.

Read More (The New Zealand Herald)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

UFB to create new monopolies?

Geekzone blogger Juha Saarinen explores the idea that the UFB LFC's could create a new era of fibre based monopolies.

Juha argues that the proposed combined layer 1 and 2 structure will reduce an access seekers flexibility in designing and setting price points for their fibre based products.

He is also in agreement with Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Ross Patterson's presentation on the difficulties in unbundling fibre networks based on Passive Optical Network (PON) technology.

Follow the link below to further read his opinions on the UFB initiatives proposed structure.

Read More (Geekzone)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Households may pay up to $3000 for NBN

The Australian have posted an article estimating the costs for wiring a home to connect to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) could reach up to $3000.

Costs for wiring a New Zealand home could potentially be higher given that the $1.5 billion government investment for UFB may only get the fibre down your street and not into your home. It seems highly unlikely that the local fibre companies or their retailers will cover the cost of trenching fibre into taxpayers homes.

An interesting proposition will be whether the average New Zealand home will be willing to bear the cost of connecting and rewiring their home for UFB in the current economic climate.

Read More (The Australian)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aussie vote on NBN a vote on UFB too?

Stuff have posted an article on whether the Australian federal election, which will decide the fate of their ambitious National Broadband Network (NBN) plan, will have a effect on New Zealand's Ultra Fast Broadband plan.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Vector to trial Gigabit fibre

The National Business Review have posted an article discussing Vector's trial of Gigabit fibre technology in partnership with Northpower. The trial will be lab based to test equipment from four different manufacturers.

The article also discusses G-PON point to multi point technology and the Telecommunications Minister Ross Patterson's objections to it due to the (perceived?) difficulties in unbundling it.

Unlike point to point technology where an individual fibre is delivered from the exchange to each home, under G-PON a single fibre is fed to a mid distribution point where a passive optical splitter splits the line out into individual strands that feed each home.

Architecturally I can see challenges that need to be overcome when unbundling G-PON, though if multiple strands of fibre are fed to the optical splitter, there is potential to "jumper" a customer's line to an access seeker owned/leased fibre feed back to the central exchange (analogous to how we do things in the copper PSTN world).

Read More (NBR)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TCF posts draft standards

The Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) today posted draft UFB standards for public review.

Feedback on the document is open until the Friday 17th September.

Read More (TCF)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ernie Newman resigns from TUANZ

Last Friday After 12 years, TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman resigned. During his time, Mr Newman, a voice for all things telecommunications, championed a number of key TUANZ policies, the most recent being closed with the decision to regulate Mobile Termination Rates.

I've very infrequently agreed with the views pushed by Mr Newman (perhaps I'm biased from working in the telecommunications industry), however NZ telecommunications need a voice and I'll be keen to see someone fresh take up the challenge and keep pressure on the government and large telcos to deliver for New Zealanders.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Fibre dreams or an economic driver

An interesting article weighing up the pros and cons of UFB.

Opponents argue the network will not deliver any tangible return on investment, while proponents of the network (not surprisingly one being Cisco) seem to have a build it and they will come mentality.

Cisco's Martin Stuart-Weeks offers some interesting ideas around business video conferencing to improve staff flexibility and foreign trade.

I'm not sold however. Why should New Zealand families subsidize the cost of improving communications for business interests to the tune of $1.5 billion?

Read More (NZ Herald)

SDP to make broadband up to 50% faster?

Stuff posted an article about a kiwi invention which claims to be able to make broadband faster by up to 50%.

The copper phone line terminates into the device, called an SDP - analogous to a distribution frame but in a compact form, which includes a splitter capable of supporting broadband services up to VDSL, while delivering ethernet grade wiring to the rest of the home in a star pattern (as opposed to the traditional daisy chained PSTN jack points).

A DSL modem will still be required to connect to a broadband service and future fibre to the home based services will be able to be terminated on the device.

While improving the quality of internal house wiring is the best way to squeeze more speed out of your broadband connection, an up to 50% improvement is an ambitious target.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz) | Chorus page on Service Delivery Points

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reynolds: UFB proposal requires regulation relief

Telecom Chief Executive Paul Reynolds says their UFB proposal is dependent on the company receiving regulatory relief (See Variation 4 - Proposed Amendments to the Undertakings). Reynolds advises regulation "stifle its [Telecom's] competitiveness while failing to benefit consumers".

Bids are currently being lodged with Crown Fibre Holdings for part of the Governments $1.5 billion package, with preferred partners due to be picked by the end of October.

Read More (Scoop)

ICT lawer slams UFB at CIO Summit

Prominent ICT lawyer Michael Wigley openly expressed his views on UFB at the CIO summit with regard to the poor planning and communication of the Government's $1.3 billion fibre initiative.

Mr Wigley states that UFB was "inadequately thought-out at the beginning, particularly in light of its significance for the country" and that since the July change of model, suppliers have been given inadequate time to react.

“UFB is a piece of shit. It’s a classic example of an ICT project which is going badly and also an initiative by the public sector which is going poorly.”, says Wigley.

Read More (Computerworld)

Vector may partner with Chorus in bid

Vector's board of directors believe competing against Chorus for the Governments $1.35 billion UFB contract may be a risky proposition.

Stuff.co.nz reports that while the companies CEO Simon Mackenzie is keen on the prospect of competing for the bid, the directors are aware raising the necessary funds could be problematic.

Read More (Stuff.co.nz)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Release of UFB cabinet paper refused

Computerworld reports that the Minister of Communications Stephen Joyce has refused to release a cabinet paper which is believed to contain information from Telecom regarding the viability and it's potential involvement in the UFB initiative.

The minister advised the documents release could "indicate favouritism towards some potential partners" and may "undermine the Government's ability to maintain a strong negotiating position".