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Topic # 82266 26-Apr-2011 14:33
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The government is spending billions of dollars of our money to put ultrafast broadband through most of the country. I've been wondering how this is really meant to practically help individuals, or the country, to become more competitive, happier, more successful, etc. This article is interesting.

I can see that having the internet is very helpful, and broadband is essential these days. Modems are too slow to do anything much with, even surfing Wikipedia would be very slow on one these day. But how is having a 100Mbps connection (which incidentally I don't rate as ultrafast) significantly better than having say a 2Mbps connection. As it happens I already have a 15Mbps down/2Mbps up connection from Telstra, which admittedly is only available to a small fraction of the population.

But how is UFB meant to help us now? Remote learning? Maybe that'll help 1% of the population, honestly school is at least 50% about the social aspect, learning how to interact with people. Remote surgery? Please, give me a break. Telecommuting? Nope, very few employers are open to it, though hopefully this will change in future.

The only practical advantage that I can think of for most people, that will be available in the near future, is that one day we may be able to stream TV and movies to our homes on demand. As nice is that is I can't see that it really helps anyone all that much. It might make online gaming better too, for the small fraction of people who do it, though unless the peering situation in NZ is sorted out latency will nix that.

Can anyone think of any practical ways UFB will help enhance lives or help the country become more affluent?




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  Reply # 462487 26-Apr-2011 14:45
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The ability to quickly and easily produce higher resolution lolcats will prove New Zealand's technology leadership to the world.

Also, fibre will be required to cope with the overhead of IPv6's longer addresses.




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  Reply # 462509 26-Apr-2011 15:13
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It offers a number of opportunities for the tech savvy to offer services from home, numerous small businesses will spring up, I for one will look forward to offering a number of web services and related products. Bring it on.




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  Reply # 462526 26-Apr-2011 15:25
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timmmay: But how is UFB meant to help us now? Remote learning? Maybe that'll help 1% of the population, honestly school is at least 50% about the social aspect, learning how to interact with people. Remote surgery? Please, give me a break. Telecommuting? Nope, very few employers are open to it, though hopefully this will change in future.

The only practical advantage that I can think of for most people, that will be available in the near future, is that one day we may be able to stream TV and movies to our homes on demand. As nice is that is I can't see that it really helps anyone all that much. It might make online gaming better too, for the small fraction of people who do it, though unless the peering situation in NZ is sorted out latency will nix that.


Sure, schools are about the social aspect, which is why UFB is important for rural areas in particular, the ability to have video conferences with teachers/other students/other schools is a really good thing for them to have, it'll also help people that are for instance students of Open Polytechnic etc (even 5Mbps in those areas are better than what they have now (either nothing, or dialup).  I remember as a youngster, with the rest of my year level, packing into a school hall, to join a Telecomference run by (iirc) Telecom for schools, for a Q&A with Sir Ed (there were others as well), these days it'd be video conferencing, and it'd be even better.

Then there are things like accessing course content, additional content for children that need it (sort of in the same sense as those math accelaration programs that used to be advertised on TV a lot), from home after school.  Things like videos etc.

As for remote surgery, sure I find that a bit far fetched, but it has been done (see for instance http://www.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp/surgery1/kanja/naisikyou/telesurgeryJK.html), and a more practical application is teaching of weird cases.  Hypothetically (I know this will likely not be done ever/for ages, but it's far fetched enough to use as example of a medical discovery that hasn't happened yet!), imagine if a bunch of surgeons found a way to do a complete brain transplant, really tricky, that sort of thing, instead of going around each country, or inviting surgeons from other countries at crazy costs, and instead of directly publishing it in a medical journal, he can demonstrate/show the surgery in real time, to other surgeons around the world.

It's not all about phone-it-in surgery, it's about learning/teaching/demonstrating and most important, research & innovation.

But you are right, for homes it's most likely going to be wasted on TV/Movies, but it's also about making it easier to get new technology in people's home, without a lot of fuss and with only one connection. (thats my view anyway).

SaltyNZ: The ability to quickly and easily produce higher resolution lolcats will prove New Zealand's technology leadership to the world.


Ohhhhh.... you are right, this is the real reason... Wars won't be about guns etc any more, it'll be about whoever can disarm the enemy with the cutest & highest resolution cat picture & caption in the world....  How wrong I am. :)

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  Reply # 462546 26-Apr-2011 15:48
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tbh, I don't care how it helps New Zealand's economy. That is up to them to figure out. It is very much a build it and they will come situation.

I just want faster internet.

I need to be able to access HD content at the speed I currently access SD content. I want increased link stability so I can reliably remain connected to tunneled sessions.

I want Geekzone to load even faster than it does already - kudos on that BTW freitasm & others I might not know about. I was browsing from my new workstation via TelstraClear Cable and it was so fast :D

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  Reply # 462550 26-Apr-2011 15:52
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1080p: kudos on that BTW freitasm & others I might not know about. I was browsing from my new workstation via TelstraClear Cable and it was so fast :D


And getting faster by the minute.
 




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  Reply # 462646 26-Apr-2011 17:48
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I'm optimistic that UFB + Pacific Fibre will significantly improve things here.

Under UFB a retail provider can't be a LFC (local fiber company) and LFC can't be a retailer, we are effectively stopping the vertical integration which allows monopoly like behaviour from companies like Telecom (ADSL) and Telstraclear (Cable). We are boosting competition in layer 2 wholesale and national transit because LFC's are providing fibre on an open access basis.

You will see Telstraclear's cable advantage over DSL in Wellington and Christchurch disappear and Telecom's DSL advantages over other ISP's that buy services from Telecom wholesale/Chorus will also disappear.

Every ISP will have the chance to sell similar UFB services. You might also find a lot more entities offering internet services eg: your power company, your water company, the AA etc.

Telstraclear and Telecom will have to compete on customer service, plan innovation against other ISP's (without their traditional advantage of vertical integration). I suspect you'll see their market share drop and once their market power drops enough they won't be able to get away with not peering which forces other ISP's to pay a high cost for interconnection/transit with Telecom or Telstraclear.

Overall I would expect a peering exchange to emerege in each LFC region with basically all major ISP's peering at those. That should lead to massively increased national data caps, or even un-metered national.

International transit is still going to be expensive, hopefully Pacific Fibre goes ahead then we'll get more competition and a fairly significant price drop on international transit. I wouldn't expect "un-metered" international across the board but caps should be significantly increased. Some ISP's will likely offer "un-metered" international but I suspect it will still be heavily contended bandwidth al la Slingshot All You Can Eat.

Un-metered national and larger international caps open up a lot of opportunities for services online that are not possible now.

Fibre doesn't have the same distance = degradation problem copper has, so you end up with a fairly consistent good "line rate" for everyone rather than people far from exchanges and cabinets being stuck with low speed.

Higher speed and larger data caps = abundance
Low speed and limited data caps = scarcity

Historically lots of good innovative things happen when a resource is abundant.

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  Reply # 462660 26-Apr-2011 18:06
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What happens if we get higher speed with the same low caps?




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  Reply # 462665 26-Apr-2011 18:09
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lokhor: What happens if we get higher speed with the same low caps?


Yeah, that's what I worry about too, to be honest.




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  Reply # 462679 26-Apr-2011 18:23
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My recent home fibre connection is certainly helping me drain my wallet faster.

$100 per month for the connection and then $1.28 per GB on top of that.

It's fast. But the costs make it a double-edged sword. I'm sure it'll get better in time...




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  Reply # 462868 27-Apr-2011 08:45
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So, no-one really has any idea, other than for people in remote areas. "Build it and they will come" is the best thing i've read on the thread so far.

I wonder if the politicians mistook cause and effect for correlation, with well connected countries. Or perhaps they just want the farmers vote, or the vote of the people to get movies on demand.




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  Reply # 462875 27-Apr-2011 09:01
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I bet there were people like you around somewhere in Telecom when they were talking about rolling out DSL




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  Reply # 462878 27-Apr-2011 09:08
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timmmay: So, no-one really has any idea, other than for people in remote areas. "Build it and they will come" is the best thing i've read on the thread so far.

I wonder if the politicians mistook cause and effect for correlation, with well connected countries. Or perhaps they just want the farmers vote, or the vote of the people to get movies on demand.


It may sound trite, but that's where all the most disruptive technologies have come from: out of nowhere. When the original ARPANet crowd were designing the Internet Protocol, do you think they had today's internet in mind? Only in the vaguest sense.

Personally, for me, it's more about keeping parity. There was a time when I was quite happy using the internet on a 33.6kbps modem. For a while last year we were broadbandless while moving between houses, and waiting 6 months for Telecom to drill a whole under SH1 to connect a line to us. We attempted to use GPRS for internet (no 3G here!)... It's just not possible these days when the average web page is about a meg in size.

UFB & RBI are longer term projects that will guarantee everyone has a chance to continue to participate in the 21st Century world where 1MB web pages will seem as quaintly optimistic as a flashing GIF "Under Construction" sign does today.




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  Reply # 462882 27-Apr-2011 09:15
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Beccara: I bet there were people like you around somewhere in Telecom when they were talking about rolling out DSL


I'm not saying it won't be useful, and will have some benefits for the country, i'm just wondering how the government are justifying the cost. I'd be one of the first to argue for fast internet for all, it's just the business case i'm curious about.




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  Reply # 462884 27-Apr-2011 09:16
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SaltyNZ:
It may sound trite, but that's where all the most disruptive technologies have come from: out of nowhere. When the original ARPANet crowd were designing the Internet Protocol, do you think they had today's internet in mind? Only in the vaguest sense.

Personally, for me, it's more about keeping parity. There was a time when I was quite happy using the internet on a 33.6kbps modem. For a while last year we were broadbandless while moving between houses, and waiting 6 months for Telecom to drill a whole under SH1 to connect a line to us. We attempted to use GPRS for internet (no 3G here!)... It's just not possible these days when the average web page is about a meg in size.

UFB & RBI are longer term projects that will guarantee everyone has a chance to continue to participate in the 21st Century world where 1MB web pages will seem as quaintly optimistic as a flashing GIF "Under Construction" sign does today.


They're all good points. Parity and social advancement is a good reason to get everyone broadband.




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  Reply # 462902 27-Apr-2011 09:57
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I'm not exactly sure what you're after when you ask for a business case here. I am sure there is one but a government is not a typical business so it might not look the same as a regular one. They are supposed to do things for the good of the country as opposed to simply calculating profit as a traditional business does. Often that means making the hard investment in something which doesn't guarantee profit but is something a large portion of the population want.

I can't imagine there is a business case for lowering taxes or bailing AMI Insurance out. Where is the business case in settling Treaty of Waitangi issues worth billions of dollars in favour of the claimants?

Possibly the 'business case' is simply attempting to ensure re-election. There could be a return of social improvements that none of us can see right now. Perhaps giving business another tool to compete globally doesn't sound so bad in the long term for the cash upfront.

My arguments are a little thin and don't have hard facts but I am finding it difficult to stomach the fact that our history is littered with dozens of cases of fiscal irresponsibility with absolutely no return; yet when something possibly good is invested in by the government questions are immediately asked as to the business case and return on investment.

I would have assumed that, like improving roads and water pipes, making sure New Zealanders have access to high quality infrastructure would be all the business case a government would need in this instance. Not to mention that this upgrade is very overdue.

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