For all you radio geeks.

MBIE (the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment) have just announced a review of the Radio Communications Act 1989. Before you yawn and click off, take a moment to think about all the radios that you use every day without even thinking about it:

Wifi, bluetooth, your mobile, your car radio, your baby monitor and anything else thats wireless. 

All of these things work because there is actually a system making sure all the pieces work together without interference or inappropriate uses.

Here's what MBIE have to say:

Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is reviewing the Radiocommunications Act 1989.  We are seeking your views on how well the Act is working and what changes, if any, are required to the legislation. 

The key areas of the radio spectrum management regime being considered as part of the review are:

·         interference management

·         competition regulation during spectrum allocations

·         technical definition of management rights and licences

·         regional division of management rights

·         regulation of new technologies such as cognitive radio and white space devices.

You are receiving this email because you have been identified as having an interest in radio spectrum regulation – as a management right owner, licence holder or radio engineer, for example, or due to your involvement in an industry that uses radio spectrum. 

 To download the discussion document, or make a submission, please visit the consultation page on the RSM website. We are asking for feedback by Wednesday 1 October 2014. 

Workshops on the review will be held in mid-September in Auckland and Wellington.  If there is sufficient demand, we will also hold a workshop in Christchurch.  To attend a workshop please register your interest by Wednesday 10 September 2014, using the on-line form on the consultation page of our website.

TUANZ will be participating in the review, if you have any views or input to add, let me know:


Policy worth stealing

Everybody's favourite mayor is thinking big, and he's picked on 3 of my favourite topics, 5G, broadband as infrastructure and publishing every homes broadband speeds.

As London becomes the bright shining center of the European tech scene, it's only natural that the city would like to maintain its place at the top of the pile. That's why mayor Boris Johnson is pledging that London will roll out a 5G network across the city by 2020. It's part of a long-term infrastructure investment plan that'll see connectivity given equal prominence to more conventional resources like transport, energy and water. At the same time, broadband speeds for each home in the capital will be made public alongside data from the networks in order to find communication blackspots that require additional work.

While there aren't many details, it is great to see a city that gets it, Boris also recognises that local government has a huge role to play in this space. Labour took a step in this direction last week with its policy of getting broadband added to council GIS systems but Boris is taking to a logical conclusion.

I'll be really impressed if London has 5G by 2020 (its not really due till sometime between 2022-2024) but he's got the decade right.

I'm keen on a 5G agenda because it means we'll focus on having and using ubiquitous gigabit access. I hope that by the middle of the century we'll look back at our current 'broadband' issues and wonder 'what took us so long?'.

Is Broadband a real estate issue?

Do you think we'll reach a tipping point where 'broadband' stops being a technology issue and becomes a real estate issue instead?

This is a thought that has struck me a few times in the last 15 years or so. The reason is that good fixed line broadband is basically binary, you either have it or you don't. If you have it then you have a range of options that simply aren't available if you don't.

I was very lucky, I had awesome fixed line broadband at the turn of the century (the 21st century) both at home and at my business.

I was a 'Saturn' cable modem triallist on the Kapiti Coast and I had a 100mb/s CityLink fibre connection at my office.

And that was when I realised that this would ultimately have to turn into a real estate issue, can you imagine buying a house without power, water or road access? Not likely unless you are after an 'off the grid' getaway.

I think good fixed line broadband is now crossing over into being a staple of a modern lifestyle. Yet my experience has been that on the whole the real estate industry is woeful when it comes to the knowledge of available connectivity.

I once briefed real estate agents and was quite specific about being on the Saturn network was a mandatory condition, for me connectivity trumps the view. I have had the same experience with commercial letting agents who didn't understand what a 'fibre' connected office was!

So I was intrigued when I recently read an article on the woes of the internet in the US, its good to see that we're actually doing somethings right. But on piece struck me:

Fiber is actually one of the best investments a homeowner can make. While it may cost up to $3,000 to bring fiber to your home, studies have shown that the value of your home will rise from $5,000 to $10,000. You will not get that return from remodeling a kitchen or adding a new deck.

This is actually a good sign and one that I hope CFH and the LFC's pick up on, local councils too as this will lead to increased rates income. At the moment all our homes aren't smart or truly connected but that is starting to change, as things like UFB connections become the new normal we will want our houses to be smart.

It's hard to imagine not having electricity, well its going to be the same for bandwidth, when architects, developers, councils, builders and electricians all plan a homes connectivity (both external and internal) as part of the core systems and not an add on.

We hear that consents are holding up the UFB, MDU's (multi dwelling units - flats & apartments) are a nightmare and I think this is because we still see the fibre upgrade as a luxury or a discretionary choice.

30 years ago it was simple, phone, power and water were basic utilities, whats changed?

Labours ICT policy pt2...

I've just got back from a press conference at parliament where David Cunliffe & Clare Curran launched the second part of their ICT policy. The first bit was done a couple of weeks ago at Nethui, my thoughts are here.

As an outsider it was fascinating to watch the 'gallery' in action and quite a contrast from the Nethui launch.

Today's launch dealt with 3 areas, connectivity, digital divide and on-line rights.

Both Cunliffe and Curran showed the depth that comes from one being a former ICT minister and the other having had 6 years to grow in the ICT spokespersons role. Cunliffe dealt with the big picture stuff, a deep review of the whole UFB project, including CFH, the LFC's and what can be done about the copper transition.

We're also being promised what should be the final review of the Telco Act, this would be welcome and then focus shifted to the RBI. I've recently outlined TUANZ's view of things rural and there's some interesting discussion going on over at the NBR..

Labour recognise that rural is far from solved and as well as the inevitable review are also looking at fostering innovation in rural connectivity with a $9.6M contestable fund. They also support more competition in international connectivity and talk about a cable from Southland to Australia.

On the digital divide, they tackle the role of Local government and want to get the 20% of households with no broadband on-line. Again hard to fault and the devil will be in the details.

On on-line rights its basically less spying, legal access to content and a civilised approach to copyright.

All in all I'd give this one an A-, as one industry attendee said 'Clare has obviously been listening to a lot of people'

I now await the National Party policy with interest, I hope i get invited to their launch.