Gigatown

Chorus has launched a promotion that will give one town in New
Zealand gigabit speeds on the Ultra Fast Broadband network.

One gigabit per second is fast. OECD rankings suggest that only
four countries in the world offer national 1Gbit/s plans – Turkey, Slovenia,
Sweden and Japan (this was in 2011 so there may be more by now) and that most
top out at about half that speed.

We’re talking about 1000Mbit/s. Today I get 15Mbit/s
download so to call it a step change is something of an understatement. My
upload speed is barely 1Mbit/s.

We tend to get complacent about the fantastic advances
technology makes each year. A doubling of capacity, a tripling of speed, these
numbers become run of the mill and users are blasé about them. But a thousand
fold increase in my upload speed would be startling to put it mildly, so good
on Chorus for trying this out.

The economic potential of offering such a service is
astonishing. Think what having such a speed would do to the way we think about
remote working or having to live in the main centres. Think about what access
to the world at those kinds of speeds would mean for start-up software
developers and to our migration patterns. Software companies should be lining
up for our cheap housing and staff with no fear of us being too removed from
the world.

Movie studios would look more to New Zealand for filming opportunities
than they do today – getting the rushes sent back to LA or New York or further
afield to the UK or Germany is a major problem and it’s not the international
leg so much as getting the footage out of Wellington and up to the Southern
Cross Cable.

But I have a question. Given this capability is clearly
available today, why are we talking about an entry level product of 30Mbit/s
download speed? Why are we talking about an upload speed barely ten times what
I get today?

Why aren’t we talking about an entry level plan of 100/100
followed swiftly by 250/250 and 500/500? Why aren’t we offering 1000/1000 at
launch?

Speeds like these would help encourage people to move to
fibre in a way that talking about 30/10 plans simply won’t.

The entry level price point is on par with copper and the
entry level speed is on par with copper so why on earth would I shift over?

No, the real lesson from Gigatown is that we should all have
that kind of capability and we should all have it sooner rather than later.
Only then will we see all those nice things in the video come to fruition.
Economic development, e-health initiatives, educational opportunities, rural
regeneration, population increase, regional development.

Suddenly, the entry level product is the barrier to uptake,
not the enabler. It’s time we revisited the UFB’s promise if we’re ever to
achieve the future depicted in the Gigatown promotion. 

6 replies
  1. Morgan French-Stagg
    Morgan French-Stagg says:

    RE: Your comment on why it isn’t avaliable today:
    Basicly, technical reasons.
    The system that CFH have mandated for UFB is only capable (as of yet) of providing 100 Megabits down and 50 Megabits up. There are complicated reasons why but basicly what chorus is offering is to do the upgrades to UFB in one town so that their speeds are capable of 1000 Megabits per second. The 30/10 offering is so that the entry price of fibre is lower…. NZ is still very lucky to have a national network being laid out that is capable of 100 Megabits – people in the US would love to have what we are getting. 😉

  2. Ryan Jennings
    Ryan Jennings says:

    There’s so much education required of any aspiring Gigatown community to understand the benefits. I put together my thoughts on the blueprint for the Gigatown Mayor http://iamryan.co.nz/a-blueprint-for-the-new-zealand-gigatown-mayor/.

    Whoever wins, the rest of the country will have a shining beacon of what’s possible with virtually unlimited speed and connectivity. The minute it’s announced, I’d imagine an influx of high skilled early adopters, keen to forge the path. Onward!

  3. spicedreams
    spicedreams says:

    September 2013 launch, results announced 2015. That’s a pretty cynical calculation, that Chorus can keep this pot boiling all the way out to 2015.

    1 Gbps down is great if the goal is for us to all consume Hollywood. Is that the goal here?

    To be digital natives, what counts is the upstream. Why is no-one talking about the upstream?

    • Paul Brislen
      Paul Brislen says:

      I’m told it’s a symmetrical service, but details are scarce at this point… we’re still unsure as to whether businesses will be able to use it as well as consumers. I’d hope they can otherwise all the fine words in the Chorus video are for naught.

  4. Chris O'Connell
    Chris O'Connell says:

    Hear, hear

    Giganation now!
    It should also be pointed out that 1Gb/s and faster metro circuits have been available for years!
    Nearly a decade in Wellington
    The magic is in the applications!

    Chris O’Connell

  5. Chris O'Connell
    Chris O'Connell says:

    Hear, hear

    Giganation now!
    It should also be pointed out that 1Gb/s and faster metro circuits have been available for years!
    Nearly a decade in Wellington
    The magic is in the applications!

    Chris O’Connell

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