On Tuesday I took part in my first Moxie Session. This is a discussion group run by Hayden Glass, it looks at how New Zealand can take advantage of the internet.
One of the questions asks “will fibre broadband transform New Zealand?”.
My answer is a qualified yes. There’s a tipping point somewhere. We need a critical mass of users and this must include residential users as well as businesses.
However, to get residential users on board, the network needs high-quality entertainment content. That’s difficult because Sky TV controls most of the top material.
New Zealand’s politicians don’t seem to have the political will to tackle that road block.
There’s a broader problem with the way the government has broadcasting, telecommunications, business development, health and education in separate ministries.
Getting the benefits of fibre means making policy across those boundaries. We need a need a fibre champion at the cabinet table who can cut through those barriers to create a comprehensive joined-up strategy to make sure the nation’s fibre investment kick-starts the economy.
There’s more to using a fibre network to boost activity than “if you build it they will come”. The build part of the project is underway, now we need to focus on getting the public on board and turning fibre into gold.