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Bill Bennett


Weekly update: China, Alibaba and ASB

Seamen using Lyttleton Library wi-fiPhoto taken last month in Lyttleton on a Sunday afternoon. We saw seamen walk into town from the harbour, in the past they might have headed straight for the bars, but for this Asian crew their first destination was the public library where they could use the free wi-fi.

My week from Monday April 14 to Sunday April 20 was quiet after a busy start to the month. The Easter break is partly to blame, Good Friday was a public holiday and New Zealand’s tech sector slowed down gently into the long weekend. 

Highlights this week were two stories published in The New Zealand Herald’s China Business pullout: Bringing paua to the people and Asia firmly on the rural map. I’m pleased with the way the first story turned out. It is about NZ companies selling fresh produce though the Alibaba online store. The thing I love about these NZ Herald features is they get me talking to people who I might not interview in the normal course of my work covering the tech sector.

On Thursday I took delivery of the Motorola Moto X phone. I’m looking at it over the next couple of days and it will feature in next week’s update.

Tuesday saw Unfinished business in NZ 700MHz band. The Commerce Commission has yet to give the green light to Telecom NZ using the fourth block of 700 MHz spectrum it picked up in an auction earlier this year. That story could get interesting.

Early in the week I filed stories on fibre in Whangarei and Rolleston. NorthPower says it will finish building its Whangarei fibre network at the end of next month – that’s bang on the schedule it negotiated with Crown Fibre Holdings.  Meanwhile Enable Networks reports relatively strong take up of fibre in the small Canterbury  town of Rolleston.Meanwhile, Chorus said it is running ahead of schedule on its fibre roll-out. The company says it may soon show some interesting take-up numbers of its own.

Next week promises to be short but busy with a public holiday on both Monday and Friday. I’m scheduled for a TV appearance on Tuesday  and already have five media appointments to squeeze into three days — there’s also a GST return due.



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