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189 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 91824 20-Oct-2011 23:28 Send private message quote this post

Well..  not exactly NZ UFB but sometimes it's good to hear how things go elsewhere in both good and bad.

OH's parents retired and moved to a small rural (72000 ppl) city some 300+ km east from the capital.  Something like moving from Auckland to Palmerston North, I guess.  They bought a new house there, about the same size as before, next to a lake.  Nothing fancy, nothing special, the price was very similar to the price of average house in New Zealand.  Sauna, parquet floor with underfloor heating, two stories, large triple windows, LED lights, all the standard stuff.

They had ordered in advance a standard ADSL2+ connection with the IPTV services and unlimited cloud storage.  A week before they were supposed to move, the telco called and said that they cannot deliver anything, please return all the equipment to the nearest shop.  "WTF?"

Turned out the construction company had made a deal with another telco and the property was equipped only with cable tv and fiber, no phone copper of any kind.  This is a pretty standard procedure today for new builds everywhere around the country.  Phone copper is regulated so they prefer to provide fiber instead.

They moved in and the next monday walked to the new city centre to the telco shop.  The package they ordered was a 100/10 broadband connection with IPTV services.  It includes a HD IPTV set top box with a bunch of free channels, 3000 hours of recording to the cloud, video rentals, streamed documents.  24 month contract, no setup fees, 39.90 euros a month (69 NZD/month).

They promised to have the service delivered in two weeks.

We visit the house and I put everything ready for the installation with instructions -- these folks aren't very comfortable with computers and networking.

The house had a double cat5e cabling around the rooms, connected to a central patch panel.  From the panel there were two cat6's to the nearby cabinet.   In the cabinet there were cat6's to other houses, fiber from the telco and two Ericsson ethernet switches.  Unfortunately the builders locked the cabinet and I didn't get a photo op - but I think all the ports were GE, at least the upstream was.

Early next week an installer arrived, connected the cat6 in the cabinet to the switch and tested that the ethernet connection in the house was working.  However they had not received anything else yet; the IPTV set top box, a "service router", or anything -- during the week they received several packages in the mail and monday next week, the last package with the "service router" arrived.  Couple of letters as well for the e-mail mailbox details and the IPTV registration account details.  The parents had no idea what all the stuff was.

The ethernet connection they received in about a week was the basic, "naked" broadband.  It's available for the same 39.90e/month but why would you buy it when you can get the extra services for free..  10/10 over the fiber would be 29.90e/month so they are also trying to get people pay a little more for 10x the speed.

A typical DSL costs from 23.90 to 29.90e/month (41-52 NZD/month), ADSL2+ is everywhere.  If you want cheaper for random use, you go mobile -- from 4.90e/month (8.5 NZD).  All are uncapped and unlimited, you pay for the speed if anything.  In the fiber domain the telcos have priced the 10/10 or 25/10 to be similar to the DSL (to keep regulator happy?) but the premium for 100/10 is quite small.  100/100 is a bit more expensive.

"Support by the phone" begins.  I thought the "service router" would be Thomson TG789 but it was a very simple Zyxel NBG-417N.  The Zyxel has just one WAN ethernet port and four LAN ports, and a WiFi AP.  We didn't plan to use the bundled WiFi but had an Apple Airport Express installed ourselves.

The parents actually went to the local telco shop to ask if the Zyxel was a right device -- they didn't know.  After calling around they finally declared that yes, it's the right device.  But they didn't know anything about..  They ¨ said that they still need to receive a modem before the broadband can be used.  At this point even the parents were smart enough to leave.

Getting everything working was actually pretty simple.  Just plugged the incoming cat6 to the NBG-417N WAN and the rest to the LAN ports; the HD IPTV stb, Airport Express and our own GE switch for future expansion.  But it takes time over phone when the other end has no idea what they are doing and can't tell HDMI cable from an ethernet cable :)

The IPTV works in it's own VLAN and it will not consume the purchased capacity.  For example if they had bought 10/10 connection, the IPTV traffic would be on top of that.  Everything is auto configured.

The Thomson TG789 they sometimes/often deliver has also an DSL-port that can do VDSL2 and ADSL2+, for example in some housing areas they use VDSL2 over local phone cables for the last metres from the fiber.  If there's no fiber around, they can offer the same package over ADSL2+ copper as well.

Notice something?  I haven't said anything about voice or landlines.  They simply can't get a traditional landline.  The "service router" they received doesn't have any VoIP ports.  The Thomson has two but I haven't found any indication that they actually sell the service.  The parents haven't even considered having a landline.

This country has turned mobile.  Call minutes in the mobile networks are 10x the fixed network.  Mobile calls are as long on average as fixed calls.  Mobile networks add over 100.000 subscribers a month, tens of thousands fixed subscribers are gone every month (5.5m population, almost 9m mobile subscribers, very soon less than 1m fixed subscribers).  Telcos are not investing in fixed voice any longer, my telco will even close their VoIP service next month.

On the IPTV service the STB works pretty much the same way as any digital TV receiver.  All the channels are there, EPG, one can click broadcasts on the EPG to be recorded.  Watching recordings is streamed from the network.  Pay-channels are available.  The set top box is from Motorola.

They have also cable-TV which offers similar channels and channel packages using standard DVB-C but for recordings you need an old-fashioned PVR.  What actually happened was that when they heard that they will not get the ADSL2-based IPTV service, they went and bought a top-of-the-line DVB-C/T 1T PVR for ~800 NZD.  They didn't quite get the idea behind the fiber IPTV..  Interesting to see if they actually get familiar with the IPTV STB or continue to use the built-in tuner in the TV and the PVR. gave them 87.28 Mbit/s downstream, 31.35 Mbit/s upstream.  I will do some more research the next time we visit them but I wish had such a speed myself..  I've been stuck with my ADSL2+ since 2004.  Sucks.  I've had similar IPTV service since late 2008 with 5 terabytes of capacity in the cloud.  Sold my PVR on local Trademe..

The service was built by a national telco, one of the incumbents.  No government support or subsidies, just part of normal business and investing in the infrastructure.  Right now the fiber access is not regulated, you have to sell capacity but it's priced out of reach for anything useful to the other telcos in the consumer space.  However the regulator is in talks with the telco's so one day also the access to the fiber access will change.  

But right now, with every telco is also working with the fiber, the competition is a decent driving force to keep the prices down.  Also pretty much every cable TV company is offering up to 200M internet access, which is a good counter balance against the fiber folks.  The biggest "loosers" are folks like me, no cable TV, and a bit off the major roads.  They were putting fiber some 200 metres away last summer but I can't do anything about the 200 m..

But..  if technically everything was pretty smooth, the service packaging sucked big time.  There was no way the parents could have managed to get everything working on their own.  They received the equipment in multiple shipments, without any instructions what is still coming or how to actually connect everything together.  Perhaps that is an intentional decision -- the telco owns a "Helpson" service that will come and install everything for you for about 140 NZD.  Perhaps they want to compensate the lack of installation and equipment charges.  But in the process forget that the customer will be pretty pissed with the telco after an evening trying to figure everything out by themselves..

These retired seniors didn't really have any clue what they were buying.  They didn't think that fiber was something extraordinary -- more like it was their only option.  "Ten times faster" and "that's what I could buy" were reason enough to go for 100/10 instead of 10/10.  They do notice that the broadband is fast but that's about it.  Nobody talks about triple or double play, they don't think the IPTV set top box is any different from those DVB PVR's.  But a few months with the 100/10, I doubt they'll want to go back to DSL.

We just finished configuring Skype on their new Samsung 8-series TV and had a living room to living room video chat.  One way to shorten the 300+ km distance..

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189 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 544927 14-Nov-2011 00:01 Send private message quote this post

We visit the seniors for the Father's day and it was interesting to see how the first month has gone.  

I also finally had the opportunity to plug my own Macbook to their connection, a short one though as they had so many questions with their new Samsung D8005-series TV, the Galaxy S WiFi 5" that came with it (they thought it was a phone), the details of the IPTV service and the rest.

The Zyxel NBG-417N was a nice little small router, the usual white plastic box that does everything but nothing too well.  But it worked ok for them.  It was giving addresses from 192.168.1/24, acting as a DNS relay, and doing NAT. Small error though, default domain was "".

The Motorola HD IPTV set top box was pretty cute, the same size as the Zyxel.  The user interface was very similar to your average PVR.  EPG worked as usual.  Switching channels was as fast as on DVB-T, they are multicast in the IP network.  HD picture was awesome, as it should.  Unfortunately I didn't have the time to figure out how much bandwidth was used.  T

he set top box wasn't anywhere near the user experience of e.g. Apple TV, more like your average PVR.  We couldn't figure out if the video rentals had subtitles, for example.  You just enter your pin and the rental will appear in your phone bill.  If you have subscribed e.g. to the Disney pay channels, they automatically record a number of Disney shows that you can stream at any time.  The TV channels offered are similar to the ones from satellite or cable, although satellite gives you options to go across the border.  The terrestial DVB has less channels (currently 15+21 SD (free+pay), 1+6 HD) and I believe the IP solution is more cost effective, too.

And the best part; these seniors had been using the IPTV set top box most of the time instead of the old DVB-C PVR they had.  The service had been basically glitch free for the month, a few drops in the video stream but no biggies.

I did Speedtest within the country (the default was to St. Petersburg in Russia as it was the closest :-) and got a decent ~75-80 Mbit/s download, 15-20 Mbit/s upload (they're paying for 100/10).  There was a TV channel being received at the same time.  

I did the same Speedtest to e.g. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and London, UK, and got very similar results.  Ping-time was longer, of course (from <20 ms to 35-40 ms).  This has been my experience in the past as well, your average Internet connection will get the same bandwidth nationally and across Europe.  Good to see it applies to these faster connections as well.

Going across the Atlantic to Washington DC I got around 50 Mbit/s and 8 Mbit/s, ping-time went to 120+ ms.  Still not bad.  The "cable length" from here to the East coast is about the same direct NZ-West coast as we have to cross "down" through central Europe.

The Zyxel NBG has only 10/100 ethernet ports so I also did a quick test and connected my laptop directly to connection.  The connection itself gives a public IP address and the carrier's DNS servers, pretty much business as usual.  However that connection was actually a gigabit ethernet (Cat6 to the nearby cabinet) and I was able to get about 110 Mbit/s download and 25-30 Mbit/s upload speeds.  The performance was also much smoother so I believe the Zyxel box is running at it's capacity levels -- which is ok as often those cheap boxes don't even do thum.  An advanced user would use a faster router like Mikrotik for the connection and use the Zyxel NBG just for the IPTV.  But that's the same even with the ADSL routers, leave the router to do the ADSL coding and use a better, faster box for everything else.

What I don't like is that I'm an IT professional living in the capital city and all I can get is ADSL2+ or expensive SHDSL.  The retired seniors living in a much smaller city have the fast fiber broadband and don't even understand what they've got :)

A few weeks ago another carrier told in their quarterly reports that 20% of their broadband customers are now IPTV customers.  The carrier has no intention to start providing content but they see it as an opportunity to sell added value to the "dumb pipe", and increase the average revenue from each broadband subscriber.

I hope this gives some ideas where the UFB in NZ will be going and what to expect.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 544941 14-Nov-2011 07:36 Send private message quote this post

Hi Petri, all good stuff, but just a couple of practical questions, you say there is a cabinet nearby where the fibre terminates on a small ethernet switch, how far and how many houses does this cover, presumably only 5-6. I take it these houses are on a compact estate type layout, ie sideby side town houses and not large plots?

Some photos are always nice, pity you didnt get an inside of the cab.




189 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 544962 14-Nov-2011 08:53 Send private message quote this post

The cabinet is almost next door, in a building with storage space for bicycles, winter tires, and stuff.  It's next to the electricity meters for each house (the actual fuse panels are in the houses, the meters are read remotely so the residents don't need access), district heating equipment etc.  Less than 50 m cable length, I'd say.

It's less than 10 houses, a few are twins.  Plenty of common space, half of the houses have decent yards, the others smaller.  It's organized as a housing company which is quite typical around here (you don't own the house but shares of the housing company).

I'll ask the seniors to keep an eye for the cabinet and take a photo if the door is unlocked :)  I need to be more alert the next time as I forgot e.g. to check traceroute to see if it shows how the topology is built.  I believe if they need to bring the fiber to a single house, they use passive prisms if necessary.

A friend built a house recently (a single house on it's own lot, your average quiet side street in a small (less than 10,000 people) city) and got his fiber installed about a year ago.

This is how the fiber comes into the house:

From the underground cable to something more useful (not very interesting, I think this is temporary as the drywall is still missing.  The white cabinet looks like the electricity cabinet):

The white little box that came with the connection (fiber in from the left, a number of ethernet ports):

Here's the mess after walls but still work in progress (the out->in fiber box is behind the cover in the wall, it's in the technical space, some underfloor heating stuff in the right):

It took a week from the local telco to do the last mile and the cost was 499e (875 NZD) that covers up to 100 m of the last mile.  Digging the cable was easy as it was still very much a building site.  

He has 100/10 for 87.50 NZD/month, just basic broadband without any TV or voice services.  He doesn't have any landline nor copper, for TV he is using terrestial + satellite.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 545365 14-Nov-2011 21:10 Send private message quote this post

I just spoke with house owner about the details;

The fiber box in the wall is just to convert the underground cable to inhouse SFP.

the SFP fiber connects to the white unit, which is Inteno's XG6749.

Although he is paying for 100/10, he actually has 100/50.  No idea why the upstream is at 50 Mbit/s, perhaps they'll cut it to 10 Mbit/s if he starts sending out torrents or something.

The local telco is also offering IPTV service but he doesn't have it.  The IPTV service has both the classic PVR functions and "Re-TV", a service where the telco records everything from 13 channels for the last 14 days.  Missed the Desperate Housewives yesterday?  No problem, it's still there for streaming.  The pay-TV offerings on the iPTV are the same as on their cable TV.

This is a local regional telco, with turnover about 21 million nzd.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 545824 16-Nov-2011 06:32 Send private message quote this post

There was a short clip about micro trenching in regional news today,

In our environment about 2-3 times faster than the traditional methods, a major advantage being that they could do a  stretch from start to finish during a single day.  Up to 300 metres/day.  The trench is 30-150 mm wide, 200-300 mm deep.

We have weather from below -30 C to above +30 C and the ground freezes during the winter.  This technology isn't for everything but helps especially with the last miles.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 546037 16-Nov-2011 14:12 Send private message quote this post

Some good video of trenching in NZ from earlier in the year:

Sidecut Footpath

Ground penetrating radar

Mini and Micro trenching

189 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 547131 19-Nov-2011 05:45 Send private message quote this post

One of the carriers just announced their 4G (LTE) offerings a few days ago, and I took a bit closer look what's happening in the market.

In the last two years, the number of DSL subscriptions has gone down 10%.

The number of cable TV internet connections has increased 20% (the total is still just 1/4th of DSL's).   Looking at the speed statistics, the primary reason for the growth is the speed (well above ADSL2+).

The number of FTTH subscribers is doubling every 6 months.  (We don't have any government funding for them)

In terms of number of subscriptions, there are the same amount of capped mobile data subscriptions as there are any fixed broadband subscriptions (DSL/fiber/cable combined).   HOWEVER -- there are 1.3x times more flat-rate data subscriptions.  In total the number of mobile data subscriptions is more than twice the amount of fixed data.

Back to the 4G announcement.  The carrier has decided to call dual carrier HSPA+ 4G as well, so they are covering 100+ cities from the launch and the "4G" network will cover all the cities quite fast.  The rural areas are covered with the 900 Mhz 3G (one has to make some effort to find places where there isn't 3G).

Full-rate ADSL2+ costs 29.90e a month (53 nzd).

As an USB-dongle bundle, HSPA+ mobile data is 13.90e a month.  The basic 4G mobile data is 19.90e a month and it is "capped" at 50 Mbit/s -- they are saying that the typical data rates are 5-40 Mbit/s in the LTE network and up to 20 Mbit/s in the dual-carrier HSPA+ network.  That is comparable to the ADSL2+ which costs 50% more.  The premium product is "uncapped" 4G which is up to 100 Mbit/s (typical 5-80 Mbit/s) at 39.90e a month -- still a reasonable bargain compared to the ADSL2+.

The bundle Huawei's E398 USB dongle with the 4G bundles.  Traditionally the cells have been reasonably small and if there's coverage, a decent 3G performance.  It remains to be seen what the real throughput will be but with the cable internet offerings, new fiber deployments and the reasonably priced 4G mobile I think we'll start to see even faster drop in the number of DSL subscriptions.

I'll get the 4G mobile data next spring, hopefully there will be MiFi devices available by that time.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 550717 27-Nov-2011 23:07 Send private message quote this post

We don't have a common plan for fiber broadband here.  (Well, the government sometimes says something obvious..  interweb access was declared a civil right a few years ago)

Sometimes people are lucky like OH's parents who get fiber from the beginning.   Sometimes people are less lucky, like me, and wait.. wait..  wait..    Sometimes folks decide to take their faith to their own hands because the telco is not yet seeing the commercial potential.  They are tired of being stuck with ADSL2+ which can't do more than 10-15M in their area.

In one city, slightly bigger than Tauranga, one district decided to act.

They formed the initial group, investigated, built a plan together with a small construction company for a local fiber network.  Covering up to a few hundred houses in the local district with options to expand.

They formed a co-op.  To join the network the cost is from 1250 euros (single house) to 2000 euros (multiple houses).  The fiber ends on the plot border and the co-op gives help how to do the final metres.  The have sourced a deal for all the materials and local ground work.

They made a deal with local ISP and people can get 100/100 interweb access for 25 euros a month (45 nzd), 20e goes to the ISP and 5e goes to the co-op for maintenance.  They give the option for other ISP's to offer services as well with the same 5e maintenance cost.

If the local telco had any interest in doing fiber business in the district, they'd charge 1875 euros to connect and 54.90 euros a month for 100/100 interweb.  So the local folks are also saving money.

There has been similar cases across the country over the last ten years.  Already 10 years ago people in six counties next to year other got bored with the telco's and formed a co-op to build a fiber core network in these rural counties. 280 km of fiber installed in a few years, a small communal ISP was established.  Couple of years ago they had 1500 households connected with 2000 km of fiber on the ground and they continue to grow.

The will of people can sometimes outperform the telco's and the government.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 553336 4-Dec-2011 07:35 Send private message quote this post

ojala: ... Sometimes people are less lucky, like me, and wait.. wait..  wait..

I was just exchanging e-mail with an old colleague about IPv6 and he has broadband from one of the very few local smaller ISP's (revenue 3m NZD).  Back in the late 90's many of the fastest growing local ISP's were combined and eventually in 2005 acquired by one of the incumbents.  The internet access business has been dominated by the large players for years now.

They local small ISP has a nice web service where you can click location on Google Maps and it will estimate the local loop length and tell you what services they can provide and what is the estimated link rate.

In my case, they estimate ADSL2+ Annex M would do 19.8 / 2.3, G.Bond (twin ADSL2+) would do 39.6 / 4.6, VDSL2 would do 36.2 / 3.6, SHDSL ATM 10.7 / 10.7 and a new one, SHDSL EFM would do 74.6 / 74.6.

So yes, I could get something faster if I really wanted to.  Not fiber, not advanced IPTV, but simple broadband with focus on the actual service -- fixed IP address available, all ports open, IPv6, etc.  But also 30% to 300% more expensive than my current full-rate ADSL2+ from a major telco.   But still, 70+ Mbit/s symmetric connection would be tempting if we weren't trying to sell the house right now.

Back to the IPv6..  I've been running IPv6 tunnel to Hurricane about a year now (before that to SixXS), directly from the Mikrotik router and all the hosts in the LAN having IPv6 address.  Safari on OS X prefers AAAA over A so some brave sites may be accessed over IPv6.  Looking at the graphs, it's not too bad:

56.64 GB of IPv6 traffic over 10 months.  The total traffic over the broadband has been 1.51 TB over the same period so it's about 4% IPv6 and IPv4 -- without trying to prefer IPv6 in any way.  The traffic includes the IPTV so the actual percentage is way higher.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 563907 3-Jan-2012 04:10 Send private message quote this post

Friend lives in an apartment house and recently a carrier installed fiber to the building, offering 10/1 interweb for an introduction price of 10 euro/month (17 nzd/mo).

Two weeks later another carrier advertised to him that they have also now installed fiber to the house and they're offering 100/100 for the same price.

Meanwhile elsewhere in town friends are suffering with low ADSL rates of 5/1 and asked a quote for fiber.  ~40.000 euros (65000 nzd).   300 m of fiber needs to be laid.   In this case the carrier seems to think that fiber will come when it comes, LTE will fix the low DSL rate (pure marketing perspective, of course).  The customer has very little saying where and when fiber gets installed.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 564307 4-Jan-2012 12:28 Send private message quote this post

At 17 NZD/month do the carriers even make any money on providing the internet service? Are they primarily relying on selling services over the connection pay tv etc?

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 564452 4-Jan-2012 19:58 Send private message quote this post

Ragnor: At 17 NZD/month do the carriers even make any money on providing the internet service? Are they primarily relying on selling services over the connection pay tv etc?

It's about ARPU and volume.  In that case the service was just pure internet access, voice over broadband isn't really sold here (mobile is cheaper than fixed voice) and the TV service is still just growing -- not sure if it's a real money maker as such.

At 17 NZD/month it's obviously something to get the customer hooked, "half price offer".  With DSL and mobile they often run for 3-6-12 months before going back to the list price.  GF's parents had the option of going for 100/10 at the list price or 10/10 with a 6 month half-price offer.  They got 100/10.

Looking at the broadband offerings, they all fit within the 20-30 EUR/month gap.  My local carrier doesn't do anything but full-rate ADSL for 23.90e/month or full-rate ADSL2+ for 29.90e/month.  The price list has 1/1 and 4/1 for the same prices -- I don't know why.  Do a 18 month contract and you get 6 months half the price.

The fiber itself is an investment in the infrastructure.  The backhaul isn't calculated per user, it just exists and there is plenty of capacity as such.  With fiber and the 100/10 or 100/100 type of offerings they can try to increase the fixed broadband ARPU from the existing level, get the customer locked with a 2 year contracts with fiber + mobile broadband bundles and the like.  The average ARPU matters the most, not if the customer has 10/1 or 100/100 (not that I understand the 10/1 offer on fiber but perhaps the customers will receive an offer for 100/10 upgrade later).  For the moment there are loopholes in the regulations for sharing local loop fiber with other carriers.

The fiber infrastructure has a long life-span and is also needed for the mobile networks, increasingly with the 4G/LTE networks, so the carriers don't seem to be reluctant to keep building the fiber infrastructure.

Looking at the official numbers..

Elisa (the 100/100 carrier) is mostly local so their figures are easier to decipher.  They make about 20% profit, invest 10% of their revenue -- however they don't give financial figures separately for mobile and fixed businesses.

Sonera (the first carrier in question, also the carrier GF's parents are using in the original post), the other part of TeliaSonera, is a more difficult case as it has grown from a Finnish and Swedish carrier into a multinational one with 164+ million customers.  They do say that they have 2.5 million broadband customers in the Nordics and 0.5m are fiber based, and they plan to make that 2.3 million fiber customers by end of 2014.  They seem to make 20% profit as well but their broadband revenue has been sliding.  The figures are dominated by Sweden where back in the old days it was the prominent carrier, here in Finland Sonera was more of a rural carrier.

.. so the figures don't really say much :) 

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 564826 5-Jan-2012 14:56 Send private message quote this post

Unfortunately in NZ prices are going to be nearer $100 NZD /month still most likely.

The retail ISP's will be paying ~$37.50 / month / customer at least ($37.50 for 30/10... higher for 100/50 or 100/100) to the regional fibre company for use of the wholesale GPON bitstream 2 service which just gets data from the premises to a handover point. 

Tthere are the other UFB related ISP costs too, eg: co-location, handover connections, domestic backhaul/transit. Plus all the ISP's other costs eg: staff, marketing, equipment, international bandwidth etc.

We have not seen any residential UFB based plans advertised yet other than Northland ISP ubergroup, who have 50/50 Mbit w/ 150GB data cap for $99 (they must be using the 100/50 bitstream but limiting to only 50/50 in their network) 

The "wholesale" reference service descriptions and price lists are on the Crown Fibre website

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 564841 5-Jan-2012 15:12 Send private message quote this post

Given NZ and Finland are of similar population size, land area and population density it's an interesting comparison.

We've had government mandated fibre to the node (80% homes should achieve 10Mbit line rate on DSL), plus local loop unbundling (but much later than in Europe) and structural separation of the incumbent carrier Telecom.

Now with UFB, de-merger of the access network (Chorus) from Telecom into a separate company.

Overall it may be fair to say we have better average line rates for DSL (compared to Australia and Finland), most people can get over 10Mbit down DSL sync but at the cost of higher prices for everyone.

Probably about what you'd expect from government action (make one thing better, make something else worse).

Also we still have to consider the significant effect of way higher international transit cost from being in the middle of nowhere and the much higher ratio of consumption of overseas vs domestic content (primarily US) vs Finland... hence the data caps still.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 565102 6-Jan-2012 00:15 Send private message quote this post

Ragnor: Given NZ and Finland are of similar population size, land area and population density it's an interesting comparison.

We've had government mandated fibre to the node (80% homes should achieve 10Mbit line rate on DSL), plus local loop unbundling (but much later than in Europe) and structural separation of the incumbent carrier Telecom.

Now with UFB, de-merger of the access network (Chorus) from Telecom into a separate company.

Overall it may be fair to say we have better average line rates for DSL (compared to Australia and Finland), most people can get over 10Mbit down DSL sync but at the cost of higher prices for everyone.

Probably about what you'd expect from government action (make one thing better, make something else worse).

Also we still have to consider the significant effect of way higher international transit cost from being in the middle of nowhere and the much higher ratio of consumption of overseas vs domestic content (primarily US) vs Finland... hence the data caps still.

I've been wondering about the good/bads of both cabinetization and the content issue.

First I thought that cabinetization was a good thing.  Ultra-short local loops, fiber to the cabinets, a really easy path to get fiber to every home eventually -- perhaps something that could be driven by the local community itself.  But then when I started thinking from the overall market perspective and it started to make less sense.  Can you really make 5-10 year plans and "drop the other balls"?  If the local part is always the same, will there will any real competition?  My ideal carrier is something I never need to contact, things just work.

While NZ was making the local loops shorter, we got ADSL2+ everywhere half a decade ago, cable-TV internet that goes up to 100/200M has now 15-20% market share (before DOCSIS3 a few years ago they had only price advantage over DSL), fiber has been becoming available to homes for the last couple years and the mobile market is going well with nationwide 3G (even to the rural and uninhabited areas), HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, LTE, ..

What is different and an advantage to the cabinetization is VDSL2.  We don't have VDSL2 widely available, some smaller carriers may offer it and people use it locally for bridging between or inside buildings when anything else isn't available.  LTE is still in it's infancy and fiber is not everywhere.  VDSL2 can fill the gap quite well and is plenty for most people.

Our national average for copper length is 2.5km although I think it's shorter in the cities and the copper quality is relatively good (built better due the winter?).  I have little experience with rural copper but in the city I'd consider 2.5 km a long stretch.  2.5 km should be fine for reasonably good ADSL2+ performance.  Right now the DSL market is shrinking almost 10% a year, replaced by both HSPA+ and cable-tv/fiber.

As we've never had data capped ADSL in the market, the service segmentation has always been about data rate.  Years ago there were a number of speeds from something like 512/512 to the full-rate.  While the different data rates are mostly gone now, only a few carriers have given "free upgrades" to old customers.  There are large amounts of customers who still have a 10-year-old ADSL at 4/1 although they could get full-rate ADSL2+ for the same price if they just asked.  But if you use it just for e-mail, facebook and on-line banking, internet isn't your life and you don't really care that much.

For anyone who knows what a Mbit/s is, anything below 10 Mbit/s on a wire is "unacceptable" and they constantly look for an alternative.

A big difference between NZ and FI is the "lack of a single incumbent".  Nationally we've never had a single carrier but many; by end of 1940's we had 815 telcos, each working as a monopoly in a small region and one doing long-distance and international.  Can you imagine NZ with 800+ telcos? :-)  800+ telcos sound like a mess and it probably was but even today many of the smaller telco's are moving much faster to provide new services than the bigger ones.  Move to a small city and you're much more likely to get fiber than in the big city.

I believe this history has also caused that the government regulation is more about making sure the telcos co-operate.  For the consumers in the rural areas they make sure that some services are available, to the consumers they make sure that carriers don't fool the customers too much -- if the carrier sells x Mbit/s, it better deliver it as well.  That's why they keep the 10/1 in the price list -- if for some odd reason ADSL2+ doesn't perform, they can fallback to 10/1 and sell it for little less and it will match the service description (10-20 for ADSL2+, 5-10 for "ADSL").  The debate about everyone having a right for some service has been more political and personally I don't think it's a good idea to expect a dense city and a single rural house to get the same offerings.

If I want to switch a carrier, I don't switch only between carriers using the same DSLAM and backhaul but I have an option for a carriers with their own DSLAM and backhaul.  Our small city district (single exchange area) has 3800 inhabitants and I believe there are 4 or 5 DSL alternatives plus both cable-tv and/or fiber on some roads.  Two of the DSL alternatives I have offer VDSL2, the big ones don't do it.  A rural house may be limited to just a single fixed alternative and three 3G carriers.

I don't think every country could or should be the same but I do believe that a small country does have potential to be reasonably flexible and at the forefront, even at the edge of Europe or in the middle of Pacific Ocean.  What small countries should is to observe other similar countries and learn from their experiences.  NZ or FI shouldn't care less what happens in the UK or US.

I think the de-merger of Chorus and Telecom retail should do good, especially if the Chorus side will be driven to be cost effective (which a incumbent telco usually isn't).  In the case of UFB, I would like to see the prices to become less bandwidth and data volume dependent so that the content market itself would start to grow.

The content may be a chicken vs. egg issue.  If you have to pay for data volume, creating a service that becomes it a success but is free / freemium / still looking for the business model can be a problem.  Often the business model is to sell the company so you want big customer base but you don't want to increase your running costs.  Our international traffic volume is higher than domestic as a big portion of the population use both finnish and foreign content (not only english but e.g. swedish as well).

But it's true that we don't have heavy international transit costs due the long-term telco competition (there has been alternatives for international bandwidth since mid 90's) and the big boom of new fiber 10+ years ago did hit our shores as well.  When KPNQwest collapsed in 2002, nobody was interested in their fiber between Finland and Sweden as the local big carriers already had enough capacity of their own.  I believe the fiber is still mostly unused, or perhaps forgotten for good.

PS. Sorry for the long text.

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