Blog Comments on National’s Fibre to the Home Plan

April 23rd, 2008 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

It has been interesting to see the various posts and press releases on National’s proposal. I’ll try and cover most of them:

Phil at Whoar labels it as “what could well be an election winning policy.

Bomber at Tumeke calls it a “Bloody good idea”. Heh shouldn’t that be damn good idea :-)

Mike at Morphyoss says:

“good on you National for releasing a good policy that will massively benefit New Zealand should they win the election. Now it is up to Labour to respond, remember fibre is extremely important to our economy and it is important that labour do something about that or they will lose the election”

David Slack at Public Address is unimpressed with some of the arguments against:

Here’s my response to the snide folk who have been saying: faster downloading for your YouTube and your porn and your pirated movies. I spend thousands on hosting in the USA because no-one here can set me up with a fast enough server and a big enough data allowance. That money could be being spent here. Ask Rod Drury what it could mean for the Software As A Service businesses he’s involved in.

It’s becoming trite to say it, but it’s nonetheless true: internet infrastructure is as important to us as roads, railways and refrigerated ships. Why not have it in abundance, rather than relatively scarce and expensive? Let a thousand e-commerce sites bloom!

Business NZ says

National’s plan to speed up provision of broadband to most premises is welcome, says Business NZ.

Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says a public-private partnership is a logical way to spread the cost of such a huge undertaking.

“The challenge would be in working out just how the partnership would operate to ensure as many investors as possible could contribute, and in finding an appropriate regulatory regime.”

The EPMU is also reasonably supportive:

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says John Key’s policy of rolling out fibre optic cable to 75% of New Zealand homes is a step in the right direction, but is concerned the task may be impossible given the current skills shortage.

“We really want to see this sort of project happen as any investment that will increase productivity in New Zealand is good for our members but until we see details on wages and training around this it’s hard to see how fibre roll-out will be possible.”

In terms of the issues the raises about skills and capacity, I don’t think it will be a major barrier (but certainly is a factor). When InternetNZ met with David Skilling of the NZ Institute last week to discuss his fibre proposal, one of the issues we raised was whether there was enough capacity to physically get fibre laid out by 2018 (note National is proposing 2014 as a target). Off memory Skilling indicated that they had talked to two separate engineering firms and their advice was there was enough people and and capacity to do it within 10 years, and even within five years if you really pushed it.

Now that is second or third hand so it doesn’t mean there may not be issues, but it does show some work has already been done looking at the capacity issue. One reason it is important is if supply can not meet the demand, prices could go up significantly. This has been an issue in the roading sector.

Jordan Carter is also pleased:

I am pleased that with John Key’s policy proposal, launched yesterday at a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Wellington, the debate about New Zealand’s broadband future has shifted from “whether” to do fibre to the home, to “how and how soon” to do it.

Professionally speaking, I am pleased there is now a political commitment from one major party to putting money into this. I am looking forward to assessing the various plans that come forward, and I’m sure that InternetNZ will be looking to persuade all parties to invest in this critical infrastructure.

As a Labour person I am quite sure the Nats’ proposal can be bettered, and that Labour will do so. ’s comments have critiqued what the Nats have proposed – the specifics of it, such as they are – but he has not criticised the goal. That’s good, because it is important for New Zealand to get on with it.

As Jordan says, the ball is in Labour’s court. A win-win will be as many parties as possible commited to the goal.

Final point, I ended up next to Williamson at the launch lunch. His zeal for this is impressive, given his record in government. It’s nice to see a genuine change of view and broad, cross-party acknowledgement of the importance of this kind of technology.

I was at the same table, and it is generous of Jordan to note Maurice’s enthusiastic advocacy of this proposal. Some have suggested he would have problems with it, but far from that – he has helped John Key with a fair bit of the research going into this.

In fact I joked to one person, that Maurice was now so enthusiastic about this type of intervention, it was a bit like how a smoker who gives up smoking becomes the most passionate anti-smoker :-)

Also somewhat amusing was that a fellow guest at our table (not knowing Jordan’s political background I think) stated his view that Labour had done an awful job in this area. Now the last thing one wants is a big political debate over lunch, so Jordan was being very tactful with his response. I actually interjected into the conversation and praised most of what Labour and David Cunliffe has done in this area, and said the work they had done to date built a good base, but this was really about taking a big step up from that base.

Anyway I found it amusing to be defending Labour’s record in this area, in front of National’s IT/Comms spokesperson. I must say though I was disappointed with Cunliffe’s response to the policy, but I suppose he didn’t have much choice unless he could convince Michael Cullen to lend him a quick $1.5 billion :-)

Finally on the luke-warm but positive side we have Russell Brown at Public Address:

National’s new $1.5 billion broadband spending proposal — it’s a bit soon to be calling it a “plan” — is nothing if not ambitious: 75% of homes with fibre connectivity in by 2014 is not a goal that has been envisaged as realistic before.

It is ambitious.

The initial step is a doubled of the Broadband Challenge Fund to $48 million, and there’s a very welcome commitment to “open access” (whether that means dark fibre or open access on the operator’s terms isn’t clear). There’s no indication as to whether National is talking about a monolithic FibreCo-style operator, or multiple providers whose interconnection is subject to regulation.

They are critical details, and that is why it is not planned any actual digging and laying will start until 2010. One has to get the structure and policy right and you really need time to do that. However while those details are being worked out there are things one can do in the very short-term which will make the task easier – such as ensuring duct or fibe is laid every time a current road is dug up. Some firm guidance (or instructions!) to local government can help reduce the cost a lot, as can environmental regulations.

What benefits would this massive investment bring over new DSL technologies via the existing residential copper network? For a start, it would work as advertised: 24Mbit/s DSL is more a theory than a reality for most users (although Telecom’s programme to bring the fibre closer via cabinetisation will help) and it’s extremely asymmetric — much fast down than back up. The problem of long cable runs basically disappears when you install fibre. You’d be doing it eventually anyway: when the existing copper expires, there’s no point in replacing it with more copper.

Absolutely. Fibre to the Home is inevitable. It is just a matter of timing – do we want to wait until 2040 and be last in the OECD, or try and secure some advantages by being early, to counteract our geographical disadvantage.

Russell also points some credit my way for “tireless advocacy”. While obviously I am an advocate, and have been for some time, I don’t think anyone should doubt this came about because of John Key’s personal belief and commitment to this infrastructure investment. I understand he has spent scores of hours in talks and discussions on the issue, and probably knows the ins and outs better than most industry specialists now.

Two others who are influential and helped make it happen were and . has already noted Maurice’s passion for this plan. Bill has had a bit of stick for his comments a year ago which were sceptical of crown investment. The role of the Shadow Minister of Finance is to be sceptical and hard nosed on colleagues spending ambitions. I wouldn’t quite say his or her initial response should always be no, but hey it’s a reasonable negotiating position to start from :-)

I am not Bill’s spokesperson (for which we are both grateful :-) ) but I think people will find he is fully behind the initiative (in fact I understand all of Caucus is quite wildly enthusiastic about it) and his job is to help make it happen as Minister of Finance. If anyone thinks there is some violent behind the scenes struggle about this policy, I think they will be sadly disappointed.

Now of course not everyone has been positive, and for those who want a libertarian critique I refer you to Liberty Scott who labels it as Think Big Mark II and argues in favour of leaving it to the market.

Also against is NZ First (they just whine about Telecom) and Kiwiblogblog which claims it will be wasteful government spending as we will never need home Internet speeds faster than Telecom’s ADSL2+ rollout.

Sounds to me a bit like the infamous “640K ought to be enough for anybody” statement in 1981, attributed to (and denied by) Bill Gates. I am very confident they will be wrong by similar levels of magnitude!

UPDATE: The Standard has also come out against it.

I think it is has been extremely enlightening that basically all the left wing blogs where the authors use their real names have been supportive of the policy, while the left wing blogs where the authors are anonymous are against. I’ll leave it to others to draw conclusions on whether this is a coincidence or not, and what this may indicate about who the authors are.

UPDATE2: I missed a couple of comments. No Right Turn labels the policy as good at first glance. And since I wrote the blog post, Dancer at The Standard has labelled the policy as a good thing.

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68 Responses to “Blog Comments on National’s Fibre to the Home Plan”

  1. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    David, just to clarify, The Standard hasn’t “come out against it”. Our poster Steve has come out against it in one post. Our poster Dancer has been reasonably favourable towards it in a different post. Others hold different views entirely. That’s the nature of a collective.

    For what it’s worth I actually think it’s a good idea, I’d just like to see some more detail and a proper analysis of whether the returns are worth the huge investment – I’ve stated as much over here:
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1755#comment-30492

    But be snide if you’d rather.

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  2. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Oh fuck off Tane – your tired little buck passing holds no weight.

    On to the topic: I think it is entirely feasible to roll it out using existing and some new infrastructure assets. The skills shortage will come in connecting it. And that is an issue I understand a certain Opposition party is also about to address in a tangible way – unlike the “maybe, sometime, never” option of the incumbents. Cunliffe will be spitting.

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  3. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Pleasant chaps here at Kiwiblog.

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  4. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    I think it is has been extremely enlightening that basically all the left wing blogs where the authors use their real names have been supportive of the policy, while the left wing blogs where the authors are anonymous are against.

    So is Idiot/Savant his real name, or is he not left wing?

    [DPF: Actually I missed his post. I/S has always been a fairly honourable exception to a general rule. Also he is only semi-anon (like Tane) not totally anon.

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  5. newtestleper (19 comments) says:

    He did say “basically all the left wing blogs…” :)

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  6. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    So by “basically all the left wing blogs” he actually means The Standard and Kiwiblogblog, one of which he’s wrong about.

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  7. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    This RIGHT-WING blogger (who has very good reasons for posting anonymously) thinks that Key’s announcement is very welcome news. Some of us actually CHOOSE not to live in main centres; we’re still obedient taxpayers, and will be very appreciative of the government entering into PPP’s to bring fibre-optics to our doorways. This right-wing blogger also thinks David Cunliffe is looking somewhat churlish, as though he wishes this had been HIS idea. Phil U may well have a point when he says that this could be an election-winner for National.

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  8. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “what this may indicate about who the authors are.”

    Tinfoil hat for a Mr Farrar in aisle 1!

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  9. Alces (310 comments) says:

    Ah…”we’re still obedient taxpayers”.

    The blogworld is a wonderful thing, I get to read about people and lifestyles I can barely manage to believe exist.

    But they do.

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  10. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    I really don’t follow David Slack’s argument … I’m not getting the connection between FTTHome and him being able to practically locate a webserver in NZ. Likewise I think his reference to Rod Drury & Xero is also flawed.

    First off, I expect that if he’s serving that much bandwidth up that this is an issue then he’s unlikely to be locating his server at his home. Even if he is then the cost of moving it to an NZ datacentre with fibre connections isn’t that exorbidant.

    Second, if he thinks the problem is getting enough speed & data allowance in NZ then perhaps the issue is with the international submarine cables, rather than with the copper network? Perhaps he’d be better to think about how we could increase the capacity of NZ’s links to the rest of the world rather than focusing on the last mile down the street?

    Third, Rod & Xero already have fat pipes to the outside world. I don’t think FTTHome has any bearing on their infrastructure.

    Fourth, “internet infrastructure” is full of distributed servers replicating sites around the world. What do you think Akamai & others do for a living? There’s nothing unusual about having to replicate your website at a point of presence close to your users.

    Fifth, if these sort of issues are what is holding NZ Inc back from being an eBusiness Powerhouse (TM) then mightn’t it be more economic for the Govt to provide subsidised hosting capacity in datacentres in, say, the US, England & Singapore???

    I keep seeing arguments like David Slack’s saying that this is why FTTHome is necessary, but they just don’t stack up. IT geeks need to breath through their nose for a moment and ask themselves what is a realistic level of service/infrastructure for 75% of the population to have in 2010? On that basis $1.5 billion poured into FTTHome is unnecessary.

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  11. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Re Phil O’Reilly & Business New Zealand … quite right, given his role, to elbow to the front of the queue for a bit of Govt largesse to the corporate sector.

    But lads, if you believe this infrastructure is that critical then wouldn’t it be better for the Govt to stump up an extra $2 billion or so and just buy Chorus off Telecom? And then they can pump another $1.5 billion in too to roll out fibre.

    The corporate cheerleading is no different from students clamouring for interest-free loans & debt forgiveness.

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  12. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    “Tinfoil hat for a Mr Farrar in aisle 1!”

    So stale and boring sonic grow some wit you nitwit idiot.

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  13. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Hallelujha!!!! having just endured another Telecom moment You know where the little wheel goes around and around and around for what seems like for ever before it happens it cant come quicker enough.

    Us oldies still remember the good old days when you had to make toll calls before 8am or after 6pm to get connected and it still looks to us like the modern version may happen again.

    Please tell us it wont happen

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  14. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Excuse me, is THIS a “right wing” comment?

    “ACT Leader Rodney Hide today called on John Key to explain the funding rules and regulatory framework for his promise to spend $1.5 billion of taxpayer’s money on National’s “Fibre to the Home” policy.

    “The lack of detail will stall investment because the industry doesn’t know the rules or how the funding is going to be delivered. Who will invest now, when National is promising one or other company a $1.5 billion investment subsidy?” asked Mr Hide.

    “John Key’s announcement has created huge uncertainty for investors in telecommunications and thrown their business cases and plans into disarray. Telecommunications has suffered hugely from government-induced risk and an uncertain regulatory environment. National has thrown the existing regulatory framework back into chaos.

    It’s ‘Think Big’ all over again, with John Key ‘picking winners’ in an industry remarkable for its innovation. He has set an arbitrary goal of 75 percent “Fibre to the Home” by 2014 with no analysis of the costs and benefits of the policy. And it’s a backward step for competition in the industry as the $1.5 billion subsidy will deliver a state-sponsored monopoly.

    “To keep New Zealand moving forward John Key must provide certainty to the industry and immediately release the details of his policy so New Zealanders won’t be faced with more years of stunted development as they wait for the detail of just how National’s policy is to work,”

    said Mr Hide.”

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  15. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Alces said “Ah…”we’re still obedient taxpayers”.

    The blogworld is a wonderful thing, I get to read about people and lifestyles I can barely manage to believe exist.

    But they do.”

    Obedient yes; willing NO!!!

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  16. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    The never-ending hunt for endorsement for this idea from the left.

    Unsurprising most will provide it – it makes government important which is their raison d’être after all.

    Why should the approval of one’s philosophical opponents matter so much?

    This idea might just be as batty as the local government broadband strategies being advanced around the country.

    Fibre to the door – the new New Zealand cargo cult – we are well on the way to being a pacific backwater.

    As for the Business organisations – they cannot ask for tax cuts out of one side of their mouth and then advocate government spending on their pet projects. That is the very definition of slippery.

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  17. davidp (3,329 comments) says:

    I don’t see that higher speeds are much use unless they come with unlimited or reasonably sized downloads. My current plan costs a fortune, compared to what I used to pay in Australia for unlimited downloads, and limits me to a gig a day. A DVD worth of material every 5 days isn’t much use for anything these days.

    For this plan to be useful, we need to increase connectivity to the rest of the world and allow us to transfer reasonable amounts of data for a reasonable price.

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  18. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    The never-ending hunt for endorsement for this idea from the left.

    ah, i don’t think that was the point chris. anyway, fuck the left. they’re gone. who cares what they think? do they think? from my POV everything they do is a kneejerk reaction to the polls.

    Key and National have a good idea. Get behind it or find a good reason not to. And then fuck off to Vancouver with Paul and Tane.

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  19. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Thanks for the update to the update David, even if it was slightly backhanded.

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  20. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Haha Tane talking about underhand. Is he confused ? Up your date Tane.

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  21. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Davidp … the data caps on most plans are just how the international capacity is rationed.

    Effectively the plumbing of the “Internet” is a collection of huge inter-connection points, linked with fibre connections. Check out http://www.mae.net as an example. The Southern Cross cable network passes through a couple of those points in the United States. SCCN don’t pay to access the “Internet”, they just have to get their cable to the inter-connection point. Once there they can pass as much data in & out of the access point as they like. So SCCN don’t pay anyone for the Internet traffic that travels down their network to NZ.

    But … SCCN only has 860Gbps of capacity. Your ISP will buy a chunk of that capacity from SCCN … most ISPs have somewhere between 200Mbps and 2Gbps. The ISP doesn’t pay data charges either, they just get guaranteed capacity (which is symmetric up & down) that they can fill all day long. But they have to ration that, say, 200Mbps across, say, 2000 retail customers. So that’s where data charges come in. The ISP uses them to ration their available capacity across a big number of customers.

    That will only go away when the international network capacity becomes so big & so cheap that the ISP can economically buy enough international traffic bandwidth to satisfy all its customers. And that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

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  22. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Dancer at the Standard will have his/her/its access rights revoked by Lynn forthwith.

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  23. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Third, Rod & Xero already have fat pipes to the outside world.

    No, they have big fat pipes in the outside world(this is where http://www.xero.com is being served from).

    There’s nothing unusual about having to replicate your website at a point of presence close to your users.

    Yeah, but currently it’s a lot cheaper to do it the USA then it is in NZ even when most of your audience is here as Xero are doing. Only the very best off of companies can afford akamai, hardly an innovation encourager having to be a multi-national before you can afford it.

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  24. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Dancer at the Standard will have his/her/its access rights revoked by Lynn forthwith.

    You don’t seem to understand how we work Buggerlugs. Lynn doesn’t have power over who gets to post or what they say, and nor does anyone else. We’re a collective of like-minded individuals with different skills and, in this case, different opinions.

    I know it’s hard concept for the individualist right to get their heads around, but you’ll just have to try.

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  25. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    But Tane, at the standard and kiwiblogblog you tell lies about people. Why do you do this ?

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  26. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Labrator … yeah, I knew those were Xero’s hosting arrangements. Couple of things:

    1. Rod’s got a clear view that Xero is an international opportunity, albeit based in NZ. So not surprising he’s hosting overseas,

    2. As I said, he sure ain’t hosting Xero at home, so David Slack’s linking Xero to FTTHome is completely non-sensical,

    3. If the Govt really wanted to do something useful they’d regulate to require all NZ networks to connect at the NZ peering exchanges. A major reason for locating high-volume sites in the US (ie Trademe) is because Telecom and TelstraClear refuse to connect to WIX and APE. The Govt should bash their heads together asap. And that wouldn’t cost $1.50 let alone $1.50 billion.

    Re NZ companies and Akamai, yeah, you’re right that Akamai is bigger than most Kiwi companies need. But there’s plenty of other smaller hosting providers that are the right size for us. My view is that David Slack’s issues are more to do with the price of international links rather than FTTHome.

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  27. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    So many leftists in favour of the plan. What does that say about the idea, but more importantly, what does it say about John Key and the National Party? Whereas what the Nats stand for is as indiscernible as ever, who they represent is becoming clearer everyday.

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  28. David Farrar (1,812 comments) says:

    I wrote the original post a bit after midday and timed it for 3.30 pm. I was in a pub with Geoff Hayward at that time, in case anyone doubts it. Later around 2 pm I saw Steve P from The Standard slamming the policy so did a quick update. That was the only published comment at the time of the update.

    At some stage after I did the update, Dancer blogged in favour. As The Standard doesn’t publish their time stamps I can’t say for sure what time it was done, but my RSS feeds suggests around 2.30 pm so the posts crossed in the mail so to speak as my post was time delayed until 3.30 pm.

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  29. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Dead right redbaiter ,looks like it’s the same old socialist crap dressed in blue instead of red. National or Labour big election so what same old shit but the media get a big wet. What a cess pit country of fools.

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  30. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Hi David, looking at the back-end of the site, Steve’s post went up at 12.18pm and Dancer’s post went up at 2.24pm. I think Irish was going to do another one supporting the proposal and looking at workforce issues but I don’t think he got round to it in the end.

    I understand it’s probably an honest mistake on your part, but in this case (like many others) The Standard’s authors have quite different views on the issue and it’s not really on to use one author’s post to cast aspersions on the motives of the rest of us.

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  31. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Brown eye Tane.

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  32. davidp (3,329 comments) says:

    Virtualmark > Effectively the plumbing of the “Internet” is a collection of huge inter-connection points, linked with fibre connections. Check out http://www.mae.net as an example.

    Is this the same as an IPX? If not, what is the difference?

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  33. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Tane you hypocritical liar…two small examples:

    lprent
    Feb 17th, 2008 at 11:49 am
    For instance your own habital denigration. I find this type of attack distasteful as well. Perhaps I should moderate your comments.

    next day at 8.50am
    [lprent: I don’t really care. I just look at behaviour. Generally it pays not to attract my attention.]

    Although we don’t have to worry for much longer, as the substandard will sink without trace post-election…while we all enjoy our upcoming fibre…

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  34. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Um, yes Buggerlugs, Lynn moderates comments for abuse or trolling from time to time. But he doesn’t have any say over what the posters write, which was my point. And don’t worry about after the election, we’re in this for the long game.

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  35. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Davidp … yes, IPX = Internet Peering EXchange (it also stands for Internetwork Packet Exchange, an oldie but a goody from Novell many years ago, ah, good times …)

    But, back on topic. Yes, the Internet is basically a collection of peering exchanges interconnected by fibre. Some of those peering exchanges are more important than others, basically by stint of the number & size of connections to them. MAE-West is a pretty crucial one for us here in NZ.

    APE and WIX are two peering exchanges in New Zealand. Because Telecom and TelstraClear are fuckwits they decided to pull out of connecting to APE and WIX 5 or 6 years ago. So a lot of internet traffic from Kiwi sites destined for Kiwi users does a long sojourn to the US and back. Like I said, they’re fuckwits.

    I gather Telecom are re-considering connecting back to the local peering exchanges. The Govt should whip them to do it. With regards to TelstraClear not hooking up to the peering exchanges, in their case I’m prepared to believe it’s due to incompetence rather than malice :-)

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  36. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    more hypocrisy:
    it’s not really on to use one author’s post to cast aspersions on the motives of the rest of us.

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  37. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Tane: so the use of the term “kiwiblog right” will drop off very soon then? That would be a pity, I find it kind of amusing. Of course, it is fine for you to denounce DPF without denouncing those on your side who like to group the right together into some sort of borg collective. Shit, at least you guys at the standard claim to have similar beliefs, I doubt you could say that for the people who comment on kiwiblog.

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  38. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    What? No more “Kiwiblog Right”? But…but…but…that’s a badge I wear with honour!!!

    Anyway, my thoughts on Cunliffe’s dismissal of the proposal are summarised here:

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/04/boy-wonder-or-wet-blanket.html

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  39. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    I think ‘Kiwiblog Right’ is a rather tongue-in-cheek reference to the style and behaviour of many in the Kiwiblog comments section, which sometimes crosses over into the real world. Obviously even though I comment here I doubt many would consider me part of the Kiwiblog Right – the ‘Kiwiblog Left’, perhaps. I don’t assume you’ll all have the same view on every issue, or draw any conclusions from that.

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  40. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Tane a member of the “Kiwiblog Left”? Surely you mean the “Kiwiblog Comintern”? :-)

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  41. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    I do prefer the ‘Standardista’ tag personally…

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  42. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Nah, you’re just a dick. A repeatedly discredited, hypocritical, lying, bottom-feeding dick, at that.

    [DPF: And that is getting very very close to demerits]

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  43. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Thanks Buggerlugs, from a humourless troll like yourself I’ll take that as a compliment.

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  44. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Ah come on Buggerlugs. I doubt I agree with many of the policies and so on that Tane and Sonic hold, but their contribution here makes Kiwiblog what it is … a raucous debate of competing views. The last thing I’d want is for Kiwiblog to turn into a one-perpective one-view lets-all-clap-each-other-on-the-back mutual masturbation session like (sorry Tane) the Standard or Kiwiblogblog.

    And big ups to DPF for creating & managing a site that does allow for competing views.

    At least Tane tends to stay away from the mud slinging (which happens from both the right and from the left).

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  45. Regan Cunliffe (21 comments) says:

    I’m still scratching my head as to why no one is talking about data caps. FTTHome will be a complete waste of time unless this is addressed. It’s all a bit cart before the horse for me. People can’t even benefit from the speeds they currently have without have to trade limbs to pay for it.

    Data is the major constraint for anyone who uses the internet for business in this country. Just ask anyone who hosts a website.

    Unless the data caps are sorted out, having a $1.5b FTTHome network is going to be about as pointless as building a 50 lane highway from Auckland to Wellington and having a toll booth every kilometre where you’d pay a premium worth more than a litre of gas.

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  46. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    more to do with the price of international links rather than FTTHome

    I agree with you here (like I did on one of the other threads) and you are absolutely spot on about Telecom and TelstraClear connecting to APE and WIX. Could some one from “the free market will solve all” camp explain that one? It seems two competitors are not doing something in the best interest of NZ’ers…(genuine question not sarcasm loaded).

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  47. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Labrator … I don’t know if it’s a free market explanation of why Telecom and TelstraClear don’t peer at APE and WIX but two possible explanations are:

    1. Sheer commercial greed … I think Telecom & TelstraClear objected to having a lot of data flow from the exchanges down their networks to their customers, and wanted to be paid by the data providers (people like Trademe) to carry that traffic. The data providers quite sensibly pointed out that the telco’s customers were paying the telco precisely to get access to that sort of traffic (ie the telcos are paid by the user, not the provider) but the telco’s view was that they should be paid by all parties for the privilege of having traffic pass across their network. When the data providers made it clear they weren’t going to pay the telcos then the telcos got snooty and pulled their connections to the peering exchanges. So now the telcos ISPs pay to bring the traffic back from the USA …

    2. Cultural problems … I think the big telcos worldwide can’t get their head around the fact (not idea, fact) that they are just plumbing. Their history & mindset is the valuable commodity they’re selling is the communication, when in fact all they’re selling is plumbing. The sender & receiver own the communication. Telecom is no different to NZ Post … they just get the message through. But that’s been a sloooowwww lightbulb to go off over the telcos’ heads. In fact it’s still only glowing dimly … I think IPTV will be very slow to take off because the telcos’ think that’s something they should do, when in fact they have no clue how to do it and should just stick to delivering bits.

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  48. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Regan – I may be wrong, but isn’t the data cap issue all part of the Telecom split and will be addressed in the near future? (I vaguely recall reading something somewhere – may have been berend de boer?)

    As for the demerits, it’s all true, isn’t it? (altho it was off topic so guilty as charged)

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  49. gee90 (92 comments) says:

    Personally I’m far more interested in Rodney Hide’s views than “the usual suspects” from the blogs. He is going to be in Parliament, after all. Does he speak for ACT on this?

    If they didn’t have to wear party labels, David Cunliffe and John Key could probably find a lot of common ground. Key has often spoken approvingly of the Singapore model, where the government plays a significant role in funding and directing economic development. It’s certainly not laissez-faire. The classic divide in National is “govern better” versus “govern less”: increasingly, Key looks like he’s in the former camp.

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  50. Richard Hurst (715 comments) says:

    Ending NZ’s reliance on copper lines for our communication and replacing them with fibre is not a bad idea considering the rapidly escalating price of copper: close to $US4 ($NZ5.08) a pound now compared with a few cents a pound five years ago. Its only going to keep rising.
    Investment tip: buy copper futures.

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  51. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    I too hate to rain on the parade, but why is it such a great idea ? More pr0n for the home ?

    Improving business connectivity, with links that don’t suffer every day at 3:45 pm when the schoolboys (and girls I suppose) get into their gaming, and at a lower cost, would be better aimed. I don’t doubt that Rod Drury and Xero are in favour, it’s a good way to get other peoples money paying for something they want. Jeez, maybe we’re just old and cranky, but I can’t see huge economic advantages accruing from this unless you sell something graphical, and pr0n is the best example by far, to the punters. Otherwise it’s purely entertainment. Not producing entertainment (unless you count webcams as “entertainment”) but consuming it, for which we pay someone overseas in general. Nope, please spend my money on something more useful.

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  52. radvad (620 comments) says:

    I can see the sense in government getting involved in setting up major projects like this. Whether it is infrastructure, education, health, welfare or other big ticket items, a kick start from govt is probably essential.

    However for any such project that has nothing to do with the core function of govt (defence, police, justice) there should be very strict exit clauses and a time frame for that to happen. Otherwise it will always remain a political football to be used to build political support by unscrupulous pollies instead of being used for the benefit of the country.

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  53. Strutta (67 comments) says:

    You know, I can’t be bothered reading the last half of the reply posts. The arguments against this policy remind me of the arguments against nuclear power. More rhetoric and fear mongering than true substance. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Computers are the present and future. Increasing the productivity of this technology will benefit everyone. The greatest benefit to the country will be increased business productivity (forget the YouTube/porn misdirection).

    I work in science and the ability to download large databases, significant articles, and vast volumes of raw data. in addition to my ability to provide other researchers with my data is far more important to increasing NZ GDP thatn what the detractors are bleating about.

    I applaud the vision of this policy and look forward to its implementation.

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  54. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Strutta, are you doing that from home? Or from a business or university?

    No one’s debating that high speed internet access is a bad thing. What we’re debating is whether the alternatives to fibre, which cost less than a fifth of the price, provide more than adequate speed. And there’s a very real question about whether the last mile of copper is truly the bottleneck for most people.

    National want to spend $1.5 billion to subsidise fibre to 75% of the population. What we’re questioning is whether 75% of the population actually currently need that sort of service. I’m sure there’s a small percentage of the population – and you may be part of it – that need more than the 25Mbit/s or so that Telecom’s cabinetisation programme will enable. And maybe if you need more than 25Mbit/s you’ve got a commercial rationale for seeking out a fibre connection.

    But for me, I’d rather that $1.5 billion was put to other uses … maybe tax cuts, maybe investment in hospital facilities, maybe improved pay & conditions for doctors & nurses, maybe towards Pharmac’s budget … you have to question whether there’s more pressing priorities than getting 100Mbit/s to my parents.

    Note too, when you say “The greatest benefit to the country will be increased business productivity” … the policy is about fibre to the **home**.

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  55. Zippy Gonzales (485 comments) says:

    It is interesting that Cunliffe is dissing the plan, which is the 21st century railway, while his government is busy buying back the railway. Watch out, they’ll be nationalising steam engines next.

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  56. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    The fact Liarbore haven’t ever come out with anything approaching this rather obvious infrastructure initiative speaks volumes for the focus they really have. Given that Liarbore have been a, if not the, most prolific legislator in NZ history, they have remarkably little to show except largely unworkable garbage that contributes nothing to improving productivity and efficiency but instead focuses upon benefitting the narrow interest groups that keep them in power. Even if Think Big was arguably philosophically wrong, at least it produced assets. What has Liarbore produced? Zero. Point me to one asset they have built.

    What a waste of nine years of the best global conditions in history and shame on the media for not demanding a better performance from 2000 on. At least the media have finally woken up. BTW, to the media: aren’t you paid to hold their feet to the fire? Where were you?

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  57. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    Whaleoil makes the point that Cullen wants to invest in a clapped out 19th cent technology in good old rail whereas the National Party is looking to the 21st cent in ultra-high speed broadband. Where would you rather bank your future.

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  58. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Reid, the difficulty with the assets Think Big produced is that on the whole they’ve proved to be worth less than they cost. Government really doesn’t have a good track record with these sorts of “investments”.

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  59. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “Whaleoil makes the point that Cullen wants to invest in a clapped out 19th cent technology in good old rail whereas the National Party is looking to the 21st cent in ultra-high speed broadband.”

    It says much about the intellectual bankrupcy of people like Tim and Whaley-Boy that they think Fibre optic cable can transport goods and people around the country.

    Faster Broadband is of course a good thing, my question is why is National suddenly commited to a $1.5 billion subsidy to Telecom

    The devil is always in the detail, I’m looking forward to getting it.

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  60. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    I’m with virtualmark – the business case is dodgy. But I really don’t care enough about it to argue too much – it is a great election policy, and I suspect that at some point before 2010 when they are due to start laying cable someone will work out that what we care about is real broadband to every home, and modify it to say 75% of NZers have access to 100Mbps or some such.

    It doesn’t do anything for peering or for upstream to the US. Peering is about abusing a monopoly position and disadvantaging new entrants. These are reasonable areas for government intervention, and the government should intervene. Unfortunately most people don’t understand it, but if the media ran a hard campaign on it I reckon Telecom would have caved already – needs a good technology journalist who can simplify it for the masses (“All our internet traffic goes to the US and then comes back, because Telecom are anticompetitive bastards” should do it). Failing that, govt intervention here would be reasonable.

    Upstream costs to the US – I would argue a much better place for NZ Inc to spend our money. Last mile isn’t the bottleneck, and most of the examples people have given as to why this policy is good are actually examples that relate to the bandwidth out of NZ, not the last mile bandwidth. I’d like to see a policy that addresses that (as well, or instead).

    As I say, not a big ticket for me, and given some of the things Labour are spending money on, at least this one would create an asset (even if I suspect not as big an asset as is being promised).

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  61. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Yeah, as I said on an earlier thread this is fantastic politics by National. Brilliant dog whistling stuff that paints Labour into a corner. Either Labour have to look like a “me too” outfit following behind National, or they have to look as though they’re not prepared to invest in “the future”.

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  62. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    maybe tax cuts, maybe investment in hospital facilities, maybe improved pay & conditions for doctors & nurses, maybe towards Pharmac’s budget

    Whilst I don’t disagree, everything in that list (except tax cuts) will not improve productivity in this country. If we can lift productivity, or bring new jobs to NZ, or keep educated people here, or attract more educated people, then we make more tax money to spend on these things. New Zealand needs a strategic goal as to where we are going to be in 20 years time. Manufacturing is obviously not one of them so what is?

    Sonic, where have they said they’d subsidise Telecom? From the release

    First, we want to be sure that any taxpayer money we invest in fibre results in a measurable increase in broadband services – and doesn’t just line the pockets of incumbents seeking windfall gains. We want to ensure that the Crown’s capital contribution does not lead to any reigning-in of investments already planned, such as Telecom’s ‘cabinetisation’ plan.

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  63. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    I agree with you PaulL, although I’m slightly more optimistic about the productivity gains from it.

    The more NZ is educated about the issues, the better position we’ll be in to make informed decisions. It’s amazing how quickly people get educated when the government is going to spend $1.5 billion of our money! Everyone in NZ will be talking international bandwidth, peer networks, data caps and be experts in signal degradation over copper in a week!

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  64. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Key’s going to have a hard time calling Clark Muldoonist after this.

    I’d much prefer a 1.5 billion tax cut thank you. And kill the RMA allowing private suppliers to lay cable…

    And I am definately not left wing.

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  65. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    In terms of the issues the EPMU raises about skills and capacity, I don’t think it will be a major barrier (but certainly is a factor)… Off memory Skilling indicated that they had talked to two separate engineering firms and their advice was there was enough people and and capacity to do it within 10 years, and even within five years if you really pushed it.

    I’d not underestimate the skill/labour dimension of this David. The issue isn’t simply; is there enough capability? It’s more to do with whether or not that capability isn’t otherwise engaged. Anyone in the engineering industry will tell you that big commissioning or construction projects need to be carefully planned so as to ensure the availability of skilled workers – we compete against Victoria, NSW and Qld for these workers remember (and there’s only so many South Africans any of us can tolerate, I mean recruit).

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  66. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    NZ has always need public investment in major investment projects. Starting with Sir Julius Vogel who invested in rail. Now John Key is suggesting a massive PPP investment in ultra-high speed broadband which will connect NZ to the world. The Labour Party want to put that sort of money into rail for god’s sake. Sonic what is wrong with trucks. Even better remove most of the rail network and make it a dedicated truck route. Even run the things on bio-fuels if you like.

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  67. Pique Oil (39 comments) says:

    Can some one please explain to me how this will “turbocharge the economy” as on business commentator has put it. I would love to have a reliable fast broadband service, but where is the economic benefit long term. Dairy farmers, Foresters, sawmillers, miners, etc are the backbone of our economy still and theye don’t need 24/7 high speed downloads to do the business. Certainly there will be openings in international finance and commerce, but will that generate enough revenue, and will that revenue stay here in NZ.

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  68. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Pique Oil, I too am unsure how Fibre to the **Home** will “turbocharge the economy” or produce a “step change” as another commentator put it. I’m all in favour of speedy broadband. But I think there’s a lot of hype and uncritical thinking going on around this issue.

    And unfortunately many on the right wing look just as happy to suck on the tit of the taxpayers as the hip-hop tour goers were with Labour.

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