Rants, Raves, Reviews

The Butler and Butler 5 Point Plan

By Gary R, in , posted: 1-Dec-2008 17:35

I read with interest today on Stuff the Butler Brothers 5 Point Plan for ICT the authors are Mr Martin Butler, ex (recent) GM of Telecom Mobile and Mr Neil Butler, the founder and owner of Optimation

Point number 2 (of 5) really stood out for me:

'2. Ultra Fast Broadband:  think mobile as well as fixed

National has talked about investing up to NZD $1.5b to help achieve ultra fast broadband that seems primarily oriented toward fibre to the home/business.  There may be benefits in considering mobile as well as fixed.  Mobile broadband is the fastest growing service category in Telecommunications with costs falling significantly as a result of maturing 3G technology and devices.  While fixed broadband services are expected to maintain a speed/capacity advantage, the productivity enhancing value of ubiquitous service at high speeds/capacity and reasonable cost may be compelling.

Whether it’s a TV camera streaming live footage, videoconferencing using you (sic) laptop or simple content download – mobile broadband is about to come of age in NZ.'

There is absolutely nothing wrong with including mobile in the grander broadband plan in fact it makes a lot of sense but it is not all about price. The coming of age for mobile broadband is not about 'a TV camera streaming live footage, videoconferencing using you (sic) laptop or simple content download' which unfortunately are all very poor service examples. It is in fact about great and innovative services that drive adoption and create customer loyalty. There are plenty of small, innovative company's in New Zealand developing very cool services and applications for mobile networks. The problem for these company's has always been getting a moment of time with or any recognition from people such as a GM of mobile.

At my last place of employment we spent 18 months developing a world leading and in fact a world first service for mobile. It is no longer my place to get into the details of what we had developed but the development was the easy part. The hard part was getting any recognition or support from a major Telco. All we wanted was a reasonable data ($$) plan so we could launch the service and write big cheques for network usage each month. We weren't asking for any money, all we wanted was to pay money based on a reasonable price for data consumed. After 6 months of trying it became very frustrating.

Telecom used to have a developer program called dzone. It wasn't perfect but it did help developers 'get in the door' to speak to the right people and in a very few instances there were some business partnerships formed. Unfortunately dzone seemed to have disappeared during Mr Butler's leadership.

I would welcome a coffee and chat with the new Telecom director of mobile, Mr Paul Hamburger. I am sure a bit of history could help broaden the perspective.

Other related posts:
National to invest in broadband
We Blew our cap again
When you blow your broadband cap

Comment by Miki Szikszai, on 1-Dec-2008 23:14

Good call - it's funny how this paper is basically saying 'create a viable ecosystem' - I think Mr Hamburger would be happy to hear from you!

Comment by Martin Butler, on 2-Dec-2008 09:15

Hello Gary,

Good to hear from you and hope you're well. I would surmise (from an industry observer perspective) that both Telecom and Vodafone will be keen to encourage local developer applications having both now made significant committments in terms of their respective mobile network bearers.

I understand Telstra Corp Australia have had significant success here subsequent to their NextG W850 mobile deployment.



Comment by HamishMacEwan, on 11-Dec-2008 06:29

The item that took my eye in the list was No. 4:

Hosted (Cloud) Computing - NZ centre of excellence

NZ’s IT environment is characterised by a number of largely sub scale firms looking to compete on the NZ and World stage. Increasingly for those firms in the software business, a big component of their fixed cost relates to the operation and maintenance of the hosting environment.

Now there’s no secret formula in the fact that aggregating these fixed costs and distributing them over a larger range of services will help deliver scale.

Government should investigate the options to leverage existing commercial hosting operations through a combination of industry co-ordination and possible Government agency anchor tenancy. The objective being ease of commercial access to world class high QoS hosting services at competitive prices that reflect scale.

Odd suggestion IMHO for two reasons:

A) The larger the aggregation the greater the saving and that suggests Google or Amazon AWS ahead of anything in NZ.  Plus if your goal is competing on the world stage, why would you dance in NZ?  Ie, better you get hosted a lot closer to the larger markets than the few million here.

B) In light of recent news surrounding the GSN, aggregating hosting demand within Government has not proved to be a great success.

(Please forgive any formatting peculiarities, despite the imminent release of Chrome from beta, it does seem to have problems with WYSIWYG rich formatting text fields.)

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