Vaughan Rowsell, the man behind start-up Vend, is well-placed to comment. He says there’s a danger we simply use fibre to consume more content. He wants to see New Zealand companies specialise in making content we can sell to the world.
Is there anything government can do to help business exploit fibre? It turns out there is.
Innovation works best when creative companies, universities and the right people come together in a cluster. Creative sparks fly when there’s a high level of connectivity between those people and companies. They form collaborative networks. They swap ideas, skills and people.
Big cities do better than small cities. Small cities do better than towns. It’s about critical mass.
New Zealand doesn’t have big cities. It doesn’t have critical mass.
But it will soon have fibre networks.
And here’s the clever bit. Fibre networks can bind our creative people and companies together in a virtual cluster. We can form a creative community of 4.5 million New Zealanders – maybe more if overseas Kiwis join in – all linked by fast data and video conferencing links. We may need to agree on the best apps to use for this – Facebook and Twitter won’t cut it.
Either way, government-supported fibre networks are the best tools we have for exploiting the government investment in fibre networks. We may have found a new virtuous cycle.