4 min read

Another Pacific cable for NZ by 2026

An Auckland link will be added to the trans-Pacific submarine cable being built by Vocus and Google. Spark uses MBNZ technology to highlight fixed wireless performance. 2degrees appears to be winning mobile market share.
Another Pacific cable for NZ by 2026

Vocus, Google to add submarine cable capacity

Vocus and Google are extending the Pacific Connect submarine cable network link Australia to the United States with a branch landing in Auckland. This will add up to 30 Tbps of capacity across the Tasman.

The network expansion also adds a second Australian leg which will mean landings in both Sydney and Melbourne.

The partners say their network will be the highest-capacity submarine cable systems between Australia and the United States in the south Pacific.

Regional network integration

For Vocus, the emphasis is on how this fits in with the company’s other cables. Vocus CEO Ellie Sweeney says: “When combined with our existing cables, our network will span from South-East Asia to the US via multiple diverse landings in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific”.

The Pacific Connect project includes an interlink cable between Fiji and French Polynesia long with pre-positioned branching units that will enable other Pacific nations to connect in the future.

The system should be ready for service in 2026.

Spark using MBNZ tools to monitor fixed wireless performance

Spark says the latest modems sent to its fixed wireless broadband customers now include the same monitoring technology used in the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand reports.

The company uses the results in its marketing. Greg Clark, Spark’s SME and Consumer director says it means the company can show customers what to expect when choosing a FWB plan.

Both MBNZ and Spark use technology from Cisco ThousandEyes, which will be more familiar to readers by its former SamKnows brand.

First results look good

First results show Spark’s FWB customers on the 4G network see an average peak time download speed of 62 Mbps. Customers on the 5G service get a peak download speed off 333 Mbps.

Spark’s 4G result compares favourably with the MBNZ result of 49.7 Mbps for all 4G connections and suggests the company’s network outperforms its rivals. The 5G FWB speed on Spark’s network is considerably better than the 205 Mbps average achieved by LEO satellite (in effect Starlink) services.

Clark says: “We are keen to have our results included in the Commerce Commission’s next MBNZ report and are in advanced conversations about this. To prepare, in addition to tests running to our servers in Auckland, we have a group of users running tests to the Commission’s test servers as well, and we are seeing extremely consistent results between the two”.

Spark says the results show its rural customers are: “receiving speeds on par with their urban counterparts”.

White moves to Kordia GM Cyber Security role

Security appears to be the tail wagging the dog at Kordia nowadays. That’s just as well considering last week’s report that the government is considering waiving the state-owned company’s broadcasting fees.

Which means Glen White’s move to executive GM – Cyber Security is a step up from overseeing Kordia Solutions. In his new job he will oversee Kordia’s cyber security business and take responsibility for “delivering outcomes for customers”. This includes managing the company’s Cyber Defence Operations and Aura Information Security, the independent consultancy owned by Kordia.

Telcowatch notes 2degrees surge at Spark’s expense

Quarterly figures from the Telcowatch mobile phone carrier market share report show strong growth for 2degrees at the expense of Spark and its low-cost Skinny brand.

Telcowatch says 2degrees has grown its market share at annual rate of 8 per cent during the quarter. The company now accounts for one in four or 25 per cent of the market.

Skinny was the biggest loser in the quarter, tracking down at an annualised rate of 10.7 per cent leaving Spark’s low cost brand with 7 per cent of the market. Spark’s parent brand also tracked down at an annualised 3.4 per cent to a 33 per cent share of the total market.

One New Zealand was stable climbing at an annualised rate of 0.3 per cent and remaining at 35 per cent of the market.

Spark’s combined brands mean the company remains the largest mobile carrier with 40 per cent of the total.

Rocket Mobile joins eSim party

Mobile Virtual Network Operator Rocket Mobile is now offering customers an eSim option. The move is likely to reduce friction further for the phone company that has already done away with credit checks and the need for customers to provide photo ID.

With an eSim customers can buy and activate a mobile plan in minutes without needing to visit a physical store. This, potentially, makes it a good option for visitors to New Zealand who wish to avoid roaming charges. Although the option is only available on suitably equipped phones.

In other news...

A Chris Keall story at the NZ Herald looks at Morrison, the Wellington-based investment company that is behind, among others, Infratil and, by extension One New Zealand. His reason for the backgrounder is that former Green Party leader James Shaw has become a partner in the business.

Another backgrounder, this time at RNZ looks at the school phone ban from a student and parent perspective. The National Party thinks phones get in the way of formal studies. That may well be true. Yet the ban seems a blunt instrument. Mobiles can be a lifeline for some, provide security for anxious parents, and simplify matters if a parent needs to pick up their child.

You can rely on Juha Saarinen to find news that needs wider distribution among the minutiae of geekdom. At Interest.co.nz the teaser for his story poses the question: “Could a small text file make online privacy easier to enforce?” The answer is “quite probably yes”, but don’t take my word for it, the story is worth a few minutes of your time.

Reseller News has a Rob O’Neill story looking at Judith Collins’ plan for a government mega-app. The minister for digitising government is looking for ways to reduce friction when people deal with government.

“The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has waded into the spy agencies’ handling of a cyberattack which it was informed about but failed to pass on to those targeted” writes Paula Penfold at Stuff. The story hasn’t generated much heat, presumably because Chinese attacks of this nature are now so commonplace.

IT Professionals New Zealand republished: Australia’s billion-dollar bet on building the world’s first ‘useful’ quantum computer. Will it pay off? Australia has a long history of making these kinds of investments with, at best, mixed results.

Also at the IT Professionals site is Peter Griffin’s Let's end the digital divide once and for all. Regular readers will know this is a subject close to my heart. As Griffin explains, the benefits of fixing the digital divide far outweigh the costs.

The Download Weekly is supported by Chorus New Zealand.