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BDFL - Memuneh
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Topic # 66965 26-Aug-2010 09:24
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Just received:

Rural broadband: final proposals sought

The government has today issued a request for proposals for its Rural Broadband Initiative.

In April, expressions of interest were sought from organisations and groups of organisations interested in participating with the government to roll-out fast broadband infrastructure to rural New Zealand.

The Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Steven Joyce, says a significant number of high quality proposals were received.

“These have informed our final decisions on how to proceed with upgrading rural telecommunications infrastructure.

“We are now seeking national coverage proposals, rather than region by region proposals.

“It’s clear that some national infrastructure companies will be able to meet the government’s rural broadband objectives, along with having the financial backing to guarantee their proposal, across the whole country. 

“It was also evident that while regional bidders were able to make a significant impact on broadband coverage, they would fall short of achieving the Government’s targets for coverage,” says Mr Joyce.
As a result, the government is encouraging regional infrastructure companies and other stakeholders to partner with national bidders, and is providing an additional six weeks for proposals to be prepared in light of the discussions that will need to be held with regional companies and stakeholders.

“With this approach I am confident we will achieve our target of 80 per cent of rural households and businesses having access to broadband services of 5Mbps or better and the remaining 20 per cent on speeds of 1Mbps within the -six year period,” says Mr Joyce.

“I expect the first agreement to provide fast rural broadband to be signed by the end of this year.”

The tender process closes on 12 November 2010.  Intending participants in the tender process should download the Request for Proposal from  Information on the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative is available at

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 373221 26-Aug-2010 17:09
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And the Federated Farmers' comments:

Government ‘not nearly ambitious enough’ for rural broadband

Federated Farmers believes the potential of rural broadband is being underplayed by today’s ‘final proposals’ for the Government’s $300 million rural broadband project.

‘’This is another positive step in the right direction, but we have already campaigned hard to lift Government’s sights, resulting in a lift in commitment from $48 million to $300million. The question rural New Zealand has before it is now, are you happy with a second rate service?” asked Federated Farmers telecommunications spokesperson, Donald Aubrey.

"With this approach, some 860,000 Kiwis in ‘rural’ New Zealand may eventually have the broadband speeds that consumers in Wellington currently have, while 215,000 ‘rural’ Kiwis may end up with just a fifth of that speed.

“The 1.07 million Kiwis classed as ‘rural’ don’t wish to have what Wellington had, but to exceed current Government aspirations by seeking what Wellington will have.  It’s a space Federated Farmers has invested much resource into and the Government is not ambitious enough about seeding the next agricultural revolution.

“Ultrafast Broadband from the farm is seeking a genuine paradigm shift socially, culturally and economically.

“The social, education and medical advances enabled by ultrafast broadband should be as available here as in the cities. Broadband enhances social connectedness while crushing the tyranny of distance.  

“Our agricultural businesses produce two thirds of our country’s invaluable export dollars. When we say ‘rural’ we don’t just mean agriculture, but tourism and services that also demand enhanced broadband to flourish.

“This is also about revolutionising the supply chain to close the gap between farmers and end consumers.  It’s about bringing the tangible worth of added value, back inside our farm gates and our communities. Broadband is the next big enabler for enhanced productivity and production.

“Right now, we can only look to emerging 3D technologies and telepresence to see how business models will radically change. Yet it’s also about tele-education and tele-health as well as research partnerships and the aggregation of productive, financial and other management data.

“The proposed speeds of up to 5Mbps are positive, but does that allow for streaming 3D images and telemetry to and from veterinary surgeons for example?  Sony Pictures recently estimated speeds of 50-55Mbps are required for 3D with full high definition for both eyes. 

“That’s a mere hint of what may be possible but we could easily be stuck in the slow lane. We also know these speeds are possible locally because they are happening in pockets right now.  That’s the inspiration missing from today’s announcement.

“We have always said we are not quite sure the Government has got its broadband policy right but Federated Farmers wishes to make the best of it for our rural communities.

“In our view, the focus should have been on rural broadband first because that’s not just where the most need is, but is where the most benefit will come from the Government’s investment.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction towards enhancing rural broadband, but perhaps the Government needs to take a longer term view. 1.07 million Kiwis want to enjoy the same services and opportunities as our urban mates and that’s fibre from the farm,” Mr Aubrey concluded.

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  Reply # 374613 31-Aug-2010 00:09
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Its interested that Federated Farmers has never put forward a viable proposal but keeps harping on as if FTTP was somehow going to be economic for rural users. There are really good wireless options suitable for rural users, and there are both fibre and wireless options suitable for 100M to Gigabit backhaul.

In other news, some retailers like Inspire are still complaining that they are being blocked from joining the FTTP and rural broadband programmes, but in contrast Kordia has been pretty low key. If the government doesnt want retailers doing rural broadband, I wonder if there would be many companies willing to restructure for it, or maybe Chorus would pick it up.

Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^


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  Reply # 374615 31-Aug-2010 00:16
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The best solution would for the government to get the hell out of the way and stop distorting the market.

Instead spend the money on fast tracking all resource consents and removing useless red tape that's stopping fibre and wireless/mobile towers being rolled out by existing companies.

If there is true demand from farmers then companies will be willing to meet it. Inspire was rolling out fibre to farmers in palmy years ago.

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