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Topic # 190868 14-Jan-2016 20:17
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I always find holidays an interesting time to just reflect on our communications systems.

This past week I took a quick trip to Okains Bay and camped over night with friends in my tent.

I found myself 'off the grid', which is a place I don't like to be.  On getting to the camp ground I did a scan to see if there was any wifi, but there wasn't.

Friends had been traveling to the top of the hill each day to check messages, about 10 minutes away.

RBI I understand has improved things, but I was still off grid just 90 minutes from home in a very popular camping ground.

From an economic point of view, this isn't good.  It resulted in my only staying one night, where I might have stayed a week.

But pondering the issues, I realised that there are lots of people missing out because 'we' are just 'off gird' at a time when a bunch of 'you' want 'us' on grid.

Dear Mr TradeMe,

There was a number of auctions I didn't take part in.  What's more, I was sitting about reading books and just drinking coffee, while I rested, at a time when I might have been spending more time browsing your platform that I might normally.

Dear Mr Facebook,

I really should be advertising on your platform for my business, but I'm not.  This would have been a golden time for me to be reading up on such things while I relax....  but I also took a truck load of snaps that just never made it to your web site.

Dear Mr BP,

Mr Facebooks lack of having my photos mean no one knew where I was and some people were worried because I'd forgotten to tell some people, but more importantly to you, there were others, who knowing where I was, may well have jumped in their cars and joined me for the night.  My lack of connectivity also means I'm less likely to travel back out there.

Dear Mr BMW,

As my current 'preferred' vehicle manufacture you should care most about the miles I put on my car, because the sooner I run that puppy into the ground the harder I work to earn money to come buy a new one off you (or another used one of someone else who's buying a new one off you... I confess I've only purchased two brand new cars this life time, not all 9 that I've owned).

You also care about my not having access to Mr Google because he's also the one who normally tells me interesting random stuff about other things I can explore while I'm out and about.

Dear Mr Google,

Well my friend I really don't know where to start with you?!  I did download my maps so that your map program would work.  That was helpful!  Thank you for that feature.  But when I'm relaxing I like to look up stuff and do some learning and instead I had to listen to all kinds of random crap that friends dribbled on about. 


Ok so you get my point.  Having people disconnect from the grid isn't good for economic activity in todays connected age.  I could have spent my week working out there in the region but my lack of connectivity meant I had to come home.  That means I don't use that time to form important potential relationships.

We talk about Aucklands problems and how people don't want to live outside of Auckland, well here's why.

So my question to you readers is 'how do we fix this?'

My first answer is to talk about the problems and who I think should be motivated to help us do the job.  My second thinking is to talk about technology and who should fund it.

Currently I'm wondering more and more about this LTE technology that runs in the 5Ghz wifi space.  I'm also wondering more and more about how we get smaller, low cost cell solutions like Femtocells in to our networks without being bound by the larger telcos who don't seem, to me, to be interested in fixing these small problems without getting massive multi million dollar hand backs from central government.

At present I feel like we have market failure and I'm keen to discuss.

D






https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okains_Bay




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  Reply # 1471311 14-Jan-2016 20:28
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The distance of where you were from the nearest location of coverage is somewhat irrelevant. It's like going bush and moving 5kms east of Taupo, yet expecting to get 100% of 4G signal.

Perhaps a T-Stick or Vodem with a booster aerial might be of some help here?

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  Reply # 1471317 14-Jan-2016 20:35
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Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.




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  Reply # 1471459 14-Jan-2016 23:21
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quickymart: The distance of where you were from the nearest location of coverage is somewhat irrelevant.


Agreed.  I should never be off grid in New Zealand.


quickymart: It's like going bush and moving 5kms east of Taupo, yet expecting to get 100% of 4G signal.


Agreed.  I should get good data coverage anywhere in New Zealand.


quickymart: Perhaps a T-Stick or Vodem with a booster aerial might be of some help here?


No, that would be no help at all in this case.  What needs to happen is a data needs to be local in the valley.

Interestingly I know how to fix this in this location, and I will set to that in short order, but this post is really about the general issue.

We've invested something like $6 billion dollars in recent years and we still don't seem to have data in our camping grounds properly.

New Zealand is a big tourist business.  We make money from this stuff and I question how much revenue we're loosing and potential revenue we're going to be loosing moving forward now that our population is just so much more connected?


Again, I'm also asking about the technology stack we're using.   We keep talking about it costing $250k to put up 'mobile' coverage.  But we also used to talk about spending $25,000 to put up 'wifi' coverage, and then people like Ray Taylor started posting here on GZ about how he builds towers for $3k.  We challenged him.  We said he was just full of it....  then he just 'showed us' with detailed costings.

My mobile just doesn't work in places.  I don't want to get a Vodafone service so I can have a femtoocel.  People are still using 0211140699 as a way to talk to me, hey they even use 348 7235 as a way to talk to me, and I guess they're going to for some time to come.  I'm generally sick of my mobile just not working in places.

I can buy a "4G" mobile phone for less than $100 dollars now.  I just refused to accept that to give a camping ground of 1000 people a mobile service we have to spend $250,000 and have to have a bun fight over frequency space to make it go.






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  Reply # 1471460 14-Jan-2016 23:25
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scuwp: Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.


Ya, I kinda like people to just lean how to use the out of office features. 

I respect that when you're on holiday you don't want to hear from me about work stuff.  We need to use technology to help me honour that respect while also making it possible for your kids to still phone you and say they're ok at the other end of the beach when ask when they need to head back for dinner.  I like them to be able to ring the second someone is in trouble.

I like the GPS to work properly and not be watching TV shows of people risking their lives to save someone because the mobile coverage was so poor that it just wasn't possible to get an accurate location to give 111.

I also DON'T want to read another story like the one about the bus that tipped over on the West Coast this summer and people having to drive 15 minutes up a main highway before they could use a phone.

We know how to build this technology.  It's time we figured out the funding to make it happen, in my view.






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  Reply # 1471476 15-Jan-2016 02:40
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I don't get why you don't take it up with the people running the camping ground?!

http://www.okainsbaycamp.co.nz/





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  Reply # 1471482 15-Jan-2016 05:35
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DonGould:
scuwp: Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.


Ya, I kinda like people to just lean how to use the out of office features. 

I respect that when you're on holiday you don't want to hear from me about work stuff.  We need to use technology to help me honour that respect while also making it possible for your kids to still phone you and say they're ok at the other end of the beach when ask when they need to head back for dinner.  I like them to be able to ring the second someone is in trouble.

I like the GPS to work properly and not be watching TV shows of people risking their lives to save someone because the mobile coverage was so poor that it just wasn't possible to get an accurate location to give 111.

I also DON'T want to read another story like the one about the bus that tipped over on the West Coast this summer and people having to drive 15 minutes up a main highway before they could use a phone.

We know how to build this technology.  It's time we figured out the funding to make it happen, in my view.



There was a landline available a lot closer than mobile coverage in that situation.
Are you looking for 100% mobile coverage of the entire country (which would be hellishly expensive, and in a lot of cases, serve 0 customers). I doubt that would happen.

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  Reply # 1471488 15-Jan-2016 07:27
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I use the 2 degree share data option. I have a sim in my iPad. We do a lot of camping around Twizel, Tekapo, Fairlie. So far I have had coverage every where except Temona gorge.
There are map apps you can download that don't require a data connection to work.

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  Reply # 1471523 15-Jan-2016 07:49
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Maybe you should prioritise what you want out of a holiday and pick a destination according to your needs?

When I go on holiday I'm happy to be offline, but if being connected is a requirement for you then why choose a camp ground that doesn't have wifi? Many do (such as the one I have been to for three of the last five summers) so choose one of those instead. There's nothing on the Okains Bay Camping Ground website to indicate they have it, and there are telephone and email contact details on the website, so you could have easily determined whether it was available.

It's like choosing to go on a cruise then complaining you can't go bush walking.

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  Reply # 1471524 15-Jan-2016 07:53
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DonGould:
scuwp: Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.


Ya, I kinda like people to just lean how to use the out of office features. 

I respect that when you're on holiday you don't want to hear from me about work stuff.  We need to use technology to help me honour that respect while also making it possible for your kids to still phone you and say they're ok at the other end of the beach when ask when they need to head back for dinner.  I like them to be able to ring the second someone is in trouble.

I like the GPS to work properly and not be watching TV shows of people risking their lives to save someone because the mobile coverage was so poor that it just wasn't possible to get an accurate location to give 111.

I also DON'T want to read another story like the one about the bus that tipped over on the West Coast this summer and people having to drive 15 minutes up a main highway before they could use a phone.

We know how to build this technology.  It's time we figured out the funding to make it happen, in my view.




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  Reply # 1471535 15-Jan-2016 07:58
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Some people like to get off the grid from time to time don't spoil it for them

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  Reply # 1471538 15-Jan-2016 08:02
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I had a hard time trying to tell if you were joking or being serious.



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  Reply # 1471539 15-Jan-2016 08:02
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DonGould:
Agreed.  I should never be off grid in New Zealand.



Who do you believe should fund the approximate 40% of land mass in NZ that doesn't have any form of mobile coverage? Considering it only represents around 2% of the population there will be no ROI to invest in these areas.

Smashing my phone in the US and not having one to use for 3 days was actually quite a life changing experience. I had to look at bus timetables, talk to taxi drivers, didn't take a photo and tweet everything I ate. I actually looked at scenary and relaxed.




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  Reply # 1471541 15-Jan-2016 08:03
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MikeB4:
DonGould:
scuwp: Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.


Ya, I kinda like people to just lean how to use the out of office features. 

I respect that when you're on holiday you don't want to hear from me about work stuff.  We need to use technology to help me honour that respect while also making it possible for your kids to still phone you and say they're ok at the other end of the beach when ask when they need to head back for dinner.  I like them to be able to ring the second someone is in trouble.

I like the GPS to work properly and not be watching TV shows of people risking their lives to save someone because the mobile coverage was so poor that it just wasn't possible to get an accurate location to give 111.

I also DON'T want to read another story like the one about the bus that tipped over on the West Coast this summer and people having to drive 15 minutes up a main highway before they could use a phone.

We know how to build this technology.  It's time we figured out the funding to make it happen, in my view.




Are you prepared to pay 20%, 40%, 60% more for your service?


You would be looking at paying another 200%, 300%, 400%....
To expand the network from what it is now to cover the whole county it would be in the billions.

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  Reply # 1471553 15-Jan-2016 08:12
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Where is @PeterReader?

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  Reply # 1471554 15-Jan-2016 08:12
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scuwp: Personally I prefer holidays "off the grid" and am pleased these places still exist. If you don't like it perhaps factor that into your holiday choices.


If you'll excuse the pun, I'm in this camp.

Having said that, I think some of what Don is getting at is not so much people going on holiday to get away from work (where off the grid is good), but tourists and other travellers where connectivity is important coming into and staying in an area for longer, and therefore contributing financially to that area while they are there.

The ROI may well (in fact probably) still won't stack up in most areas, but it's a different scenario than just you or I going on holiday for a few days.

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