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2000: Government departments were making arbitrary decisions about how to go online, what technology to use and how websites should look. Because the decentralised approach to central government its various departments refused to work together on standards or a common look and feel across their 52 main web sites. Cabinet had to intervene to achieve any cohesion. Accessibility had become a major issue. Although web guidelines were drafted some departments still felt their autonomy was being challenged and took a while to get with the bigger picture.
In February Telstra and Saturn Communications merge creating
TelstraSaturn. Major expansion of its cable network takes it to
25 per cent penetration in Wellington and with the promised
major financial injection it claims it will reach 65 per cent of
New Zealand homes and 80 per cent of businesses within five
years. It never happens. The first step will be moving into
Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga. About 650 jobs were lost in
the merger. Vodafone has more than 500,000 mobile
subscribers and has so far invested about $300 million. In
March, Clear doubles the capacity of its North Island backbone
using dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) and
announces plans for national LMDS (high speed wireless)
rollout – it never happens. Clear instead forges a partnership
with Vodafone for fixed wireless service. TelstraSaturn
establishes a microwave service for Auckland CBD and begins
re-selling Vodafone’s cellular services and acquires Wellington
ISP Paradise for $18.7 million and disconnects
from the NZIX.
ISOCNZ begins to change the New Zealand Internet Registry
into a Shared Registry System (SRS) to create more
competition. Domainz moves to its new registration system
(DRS). Between 1997 and mid-2000, Department of Internal Affairs
inspectors had successfully prosecuted 49 cases involving the
distribution and possession of objectionable material via the
Internet. The unit was catching a New Zealand offender every
three to five days. The Telecommunications Inquiry puts the
squeeze on Telecom to share its once public assets, including
wholesaling the local loop to competitors. It predicts increased
competition will benefit the economy by $44 million annually and
subscribers an additional $328 million. More than half of
rural phone users, according to a recent MAF survey,
experience Internet disconnection, noisy lines and
exchange overloading. Telecom admits its network is not up to
From August ISP prices were being forced down again from a $40 per month flat rate to an average $25 flat fee for dial up, precipitating the second major price war in just over a year. Many providers now had start-up accounts as low as $10 a month and 10s of thousands began to take up enticing offers from the newly arrived free providers. Xtra continued to dominate the market, having grown 49 percent in 2000 to over 320,000 subscribers. Xtra now accounted for about 42 percent of the market, well ahead of its closest rivals Clear.net and Ihug. The number of ISPs had dropped to around 60, around 20 or so had bitten the dust in the 18 months to the end of 2000 and others had merged or been acquired. Only those who were cash rich and technically geared for growth would survive the market pressures ahead.
Telecom slashed monthly line charges in Wellington and
Christchurch, the only places where it is facing serious
competition from TelstraSaturn which was delivering
bundled phone, Internet and cable TV services. Vodafone
had 889,000 mobile customers, Telecom 1269,000. WorldXchange
offered home to mobile calls for 16 cents a minute less than
Telecom or Clear and its Kiwi managers purchased the local arm
from its US parent for an undisclosed sum. The company accused
Telecom of abusing its power after being forced to pay the telco
$6 million a year in connection fees. WorldXchange moved to deal
with Clear but Telecom refused to switch that traffic.
Telecom admitted to the inquiry that it had under-invested in its network, and agreed to achieve a minimum of 9.6 kbit/sec - 14.4 kbit/sec speeds for outlying and rural areas at a cost of at least $100 million. Most people are now connecting at 33kbit/sec. Telecom still wanted proof that its lines weren’t up to scratch and was moaning that conforming to the Kiwi Share agreement, was costing it around $186 million to December 2000 – $18.7 million more than for the previous year. It claimed an increasing number of residential customers were costing it money, largely fuelled by Internet use.
On July 28 the Tasman 1 and Southern Cross under sea cables were severed by a ship dragging its anchor during a storm off the coast of Sydney. That was the end of the line for Tasman 1, it was not thought cost effective to repair. In August the last router on NZIX was turned off. ISOCNZ, the Internet Society of New Zealand, re-brands itself as InternetNZ.
In 1993 about 38 percent of New Zealand domains were in the
dot.co.nz (company) second level domain,
by mid 1999 that had risen to 88 percent. Almost two thirds of
domains were linked to a web site, with just under a third using
them only for email. Domainz was registering about 1200
names a month, bringing the overall total to about 25,000 domain
names, up from about 400 new registrations per month in July
1996. By October 2000 there were 75,500 dot.nz domain names and
by May 2001 they had clicked past the 100,000 mark.
Internet pioneer Simon Riley along with the original Tuianet members who had brought the Internet to New Zealand, including John Houlker, John Hine and Neil James convened a meeting at the eVision centre in Wellington in May 2001 to raising awareness about the need for a gigabit backbone. They met with academic and industry luminaries as a ‘call to action’ for a national science and research network.
Telecom still dominated the fast market with its Jetstream service running at speeds of between 256kbit/sec and 6Mbit/sec with 400Mb and 600Mb data caps; users paid 20 cents per Mb for any excess data use. A flat rate Jetstart service with a speed limit of 128kbit/sec was also on offer. It had signed up around 22,000 DSL subscribers, 39 percent of them residential customers. DSL was now available at 110 exchanges and 30 ISPs were reselling Telecom’s service. Clear Communications was offering its own DSL service in some parts of the country but TelstraSaturn’s high speed cable offering had failed to reach beyond Wellington and Christchurch. The roll out which had begun in earnest in March was frozen and plans were announced in November to buy Clear Communications for $435 million. The cable contractor goes bust and sues Downer Engineering, which used to be ConnecTel which used to be part of Telecom. On December 15, from the merger of TelstraSaturn and Clear Communications comes TelstraClear.
On December 18 the Telecommunications Act, which establishes
a Telecommunications Commissioner passes into law. A t the end
of 2001 the statistics suggested around 60 percent of New
Zealanders now have access to the Internet, and moving up
to broadband was top of mind. However New Zealand rated only 16th
among 30 OECD nations in the 2001 Development of Broadband
Access report, largely due to lack of competition and the
high cost. The New Zealand telecommunications market was
worth about $NZ 4.1 billion in the 2000-2001 year and
expected to grow rapidly to $5 - $6 billion by 2005 according to
Telstra International president Dick Simpson. Australian
telecommunications researcher Paul Budde was even more bullish,
predicting market growth to $15 billion within a decade.
Investing in high-speed infrastructure to service the main
centres, suburbs, towns and provinces was essential for New
Zealand's competitiveness, prosperity and wellbeing.
further comprehensive overhaul of the Government’s web presence
and use of technology was planned with existing New Zealand
Government On-line portal developments put on-hold and the
promise of "NZGO on steroids" by June 2002. This was part
of an overall plan to try and improve the way government
departments communicated with each other and the public. New
Telecommunications Commissioner Douglas Web begins work
at the Commerce Commission, tasked with smoothing the way for
more equitable competition. In his first determination he
agrees the cost of providing free connections to all New Zealand
homes must be shared by all carriers much to the delight of
Telecom. However Telecom was ordered to more than halve the
interconnection rate it been charging TelstraClear and other
carriers for access to its network. In November Webb set the
rate at 1.13c per minute, compared with the 2.6c Telecom had
been charging, and ordered Telecom to pay TelstraClear $14
million to cover the difference between the two rates over the
five months since TelstraClear first lodged its application for
In August 2002, once the new shared registry system (SRS) had
bedded in, the Office of Domain Name Commissioner (DNC) and.nz
Registry Services (NZRS) were established. The office of the DNC
bought in new policies and procedures, and in its first year the
number of registrars jumped from 32 to 48. In September the .maori.nz
domain is established and in December a proposal for the .geek.nz
2TLD (second level domain) was received.
Collaborating at Speed, Lawrence Zwimpfer’s report urgently recommending the Government get behind a gigabit speed nationwide national science and education network was published in October. He believing a business case could be ready by the end of 2002 and contracts let in May 2003 with the network operational four months later. All that came back from the political powers was the sound of bewilderment. Next Generation Internet New Zealand (NGN-NZ) was formed as a non-profit society, with Dr Neil James, assistant director of information services at the University of Otago, as chairman. He warned New Zealand’s information technology industry would suffer unless we forged links with Internet2, claiming the nation’s research community was already hindered by a lack of affordable high-speed bandwidth.
2003: The vision the government adopted in June 2003 was broad ranging including cliché ‘world leader’ aspirations. The three point mission was that by June 2004 the Internet would be the dominant means of enabling ready access to government; by June 2007 networks and Internet technologies would be integrated to deliver government information, services and processes, and by June 2010 government would be transformed through the use of Internet.
Telecom was now able to reach 83 per cent of the population
with its JetStream fast Internet service but only 2 per cent of
the population have taken it on board leading to claims it is
holding back by artificially keeping prices high in the face of
a lack of competition. Vodafone announces it has 1.3 million
mobile customers edging out Telecom for the first time with a 51
per cent market share. Telecom announces a $709 million profit
to the June year after last year's massive write down and
investing $600 million in capital expenditure. It signs a $120
million outsourcing deal with Alcatel for five years, a $200
million one with Lucent for its 027 cellular network.
The long-delayed Electronic Transactions Bill passed was due to pass into law in October 2002, giving electronic transactions broadly the same status in law as transactions concluded on paper. However clarification was needed and after a discussion paper was released in April 2003 it finally became law on 21 November 2003. IT bodies such as ITANZ and InternetNZ insisted this and the Crimes Amendment No 6 Bill, which had passed into law after several years of debate on 4 July 2003, were important for the progress of e-business.
An International Telecommunications Union (ITU) study saw
New Zealand drop from 12th to 21st among 178 economies in
access to information and communications technology, was
clear evidence existing strategies weren’t working. Then two
days before Christmas 2003 the Commerce Commission did an about
face. It rejected local loop unbundling (LLU) in favour
of a dumbed down approach. Instead of opening up Telecom’s
network for competitors to install their own equipment and
establish independent network access, the Commission elected for
a ‘wholesaling option’. It wasn’t satisfied the overall
benefits of LLU justified its introduction and favoured Telecom
wholesaling high speed data services to its competitors.
InternetNZ estimated there were about 150 ISPs in
New Zealand by the end of 2003, but the 50 or so medium to large
players had about 70 percent of the customers, with Telecom
making up just under 50 percent of the total business. The
remaining 100 or so ISPs were mainly regional or served special
interest groups. The OECD announced that New Zealand,
Mexico and Turkey were the only member nation's not to have
unbundled the local loop. New Zealand was 21st of 30 OECD
countries in terms of broadband uptake.
Government and commerce get it right
The Government’s now ‘award winning’ portal was receiving over
22,000 visitors a week, a 26 percent increase over the same time
in 2003.There had been a 36 percent increase in the number of
domestic visitors - an average of 13,000 a week. A survey by
Victoria University confirmed rural people were high users of
government online, greatly appreciating the ability to contact
governments at a time that suited them. The survey also found
that more than 70 percent of the participants used government
sites on the Internet.
United Networks and Tangent complete the merging of their Wellington and Auckland underground fibre optic networks and begin working closer with parent company, power and gas firm Vector. Telecom raises line rentals by 55 cents a month blaming the increase on the growing cost of provider free local calling. Home customers were making more than double the number of calls they were in 1999. Telecom planned to invest $360 million in the local network this year. Telecom withdraws route servers from WIX in May. TelstraClear announces it’ll de-peer from APE by November and wants to change peering policy. It’s still connected by February 2005. In November the Palmerston North peering exchange (PNIX) was launched. In October 2004, entrepreneurial independent bandwidth provider FX Networks, acquired the assets and customers of former DSIR arm IRL's Network Operations Group. Telecom acquired Gen-i and Computerland and integrated them with Telecom Advanced Solutions to create a much larger Gen-i offering a range of ICT solutions. It also launches New Zealand's first 3G mobile phone network (T3G), using EV-DO technology.
During the 2003 Knowledge Wave gathering, keynote speaker Rita Caldwell, director of the US National Science Foundation, challenged the government, asking how it expected to continue working with nations that had advanced networks, when it didn’t even have anything even on the drawing board. The government was shamed into action decided to dig into its coffers and borrow heavily from the idea that had been promoted by Internet pioneers for years. It put up $200,000 to establish a business case and co-operate with NGI-NZ which had already done most of the ground work, in the hope something might be ready by 2004. NGI-NZ was to manage an $8 million capability fund to train people, run demonstrations and set up temporary access grids. The government committee dragged everything out for another two years. NGI-NZ chief executive Tone Borren quit, accusing New Zealand of failing to take advantage of its existing fibre optic capacity.
Telecom had engaged with Alcatel and EDS to deliver a full next generation IP network (NGN) which relied on moving fibre closer to the curb. In July 2005 it announced further details of its10-year, the details of its billion dollar investment plan for NGN to exponentially increase bandwidth to customers and pilot and deliver new services. It had already provided fibre to 1100 roadside cabinets (fibre to the curb) and would extend fibre to 1000 more cabinets over the next five years. It spoke about new services for business and residential customers, including video, very high speed Internet access. Fibre to the curb would be extended to fibre to the premises (FTTP) once demand for speed, capacity and new services developed in the residential market.
A $10 million pilot in the Flatbush residential subdivision and the Highbrook commercial development in Manukau City would show the way forward and $25 million a year over five years would increase the capacity of the core fibre network, and develop the next stage of its core multi-service network. A new Alcatel next generation exchange would be installed in Auckland to provide ISDN services in 2005, and detailed planning was underway to replace 600 exchanges and remote line concentrators with new IP technology over the next eight years. From late 2004 Telecom was experimenting with a range of technologies including Microsoft’s IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), designed to turn phone and Internet companies into distributors of content. It ran small trials to test video to the TV across its DSL and its fibre optic network. It suggested the first commercial customers of IPTV were likely to be in the new suburb of Homebush on the outskirts of Manukau City, where smart houses, wired with gigabit connections were being built.
No-one knew where to look on the one hand Telecom was
preparing for a fibre optic future and the other resisting all
efforts to unbundled its network or hold it to stringent goals
for broadband penetration. Despite all the studies, reports and
expectation of the market, the Commerce Commission
decided against Local Loop unbundling (LLU), instead
recommending Unbundled Bitstream Service (UBS) or
wholesaling of ADSL.
Then Telecom shifted the goalposts by revising its
promise to achieve 100,000 broadband customers by the end of
2004, confirming a new target of 250,000 by the end of 2005.
This time it conceded broadband was 256kbit/sec and above, not
the lower speed services it had included in the in the past.
Telecom had a million customers on dial up and 100,000 on
broadband "of one sort or another". Communications minister
Paul Swain had promised in early 2002 that outlying
communities they would have access to "the same kind of two
way high speed Internet available to those in major cities" by
the end of 2003. His predictions were revised to the end of 2004
and continued to slip away.
2005: By the end of 2005 it was estimated 84 percent of New Zealanders who regularly use the Internet were conducting on-line research ahead of making a purchase and at least 30 percent were purchasing on-line, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Other market research used by Telecom suggested 309,000 people in New Zealand regularly shopped on-line. Local and international research looking at on-line buying habits confirmed books, music, videos and travel were the most frequently purchased items followed by flowers, gifts, food, drink, electric appliances, computers, toys and games, apparel and accessories.
In February Ihug exited the satellite broadband business. On March 10 TelstraClear’s fibre-optic cable was knocked out by a fire in an underground rail tunnel in the Hamilton CBD. Concerns about the robustness of the Telecom network were bought sharply into focus in June when the "unthinkable" happened. An uninformed post hole digger working for a power company and a canny rat that chewed through a pipeline under a bridge in the Rimutaka Ranges took out Telecom’s main network and its back-up leaving 100,000 customers nationwide without a connection for most of the business day.
In July peering exchanges were announced in Dunedin (DPE) and Hutt area (3CIX). On October 12 Wired Country is sold to Compass Communications, some of the spectrum to be sold to Telecom. The Commerce Commission determination for TelstraClear announces Telecom has to truly wholesale ADSL at full line rate and $27 per customer (with no differential between residential and business customers). TelstraClear agree and withdraw a Commerce Commission complaint. Telecom alleges it has achieved its 250,000 goal for residential broadband customers.
Vodafone and Telecom were both pushing 3G mobile phone
services which delivered higher speeds for data and even
videoconferencing. While mobile was a major global trend the
local cost was still outrageously high for Internet surfing.
Wireless access however remained an attractive local loop
alternative. In October 2005 South Auckland utility company
Counties Power sold Wired Country, its wired and wireless
provider, to Auckland ISP Compass Communications. Sky
Network merged with Independent Newspapers becoming
the country’s biggest media company. It had 619,000 subscribers
as at April 2005 - about 87 percent of them on digital. Its
My Sky PVR (personal video recorder) was launched in
December enabling the recording of two channels at once, and
through its buffering technology subscribers could pause and
rewind ‘live TV’.
2006: In January 2006, Telecom and TelstraClear agreed on interconnection rates for phone access to each other’s landline networks. Telecom would provide limited broadband services to TelstraClear and pay it a one-off $17.5 million to settle outstanding wholesale discounts and interconnection issues. Both agreed to drop multiple ongoing legal actions. The industry was incensed at this backroom deal which presented remaining ISPs with a take it or leave it offer on wholesale broadband rates. Ihug and Slingshot applied to the Commerce Commission for equal access to broadband at higher speeds.
Prime Minister, Helen Clark, warned in a February Parliamentary speech that New Zealand’s speed of uptake of broadband was unsatisfactory and improving the situation was now a top three priority. She promised urgent legislative initiatives. It was the government’s stated intention to get the country into the top quarter of the OECD Broadband Statistics listing; since 2003 it had languished at 22nd place out of 30 nations.
Telecom continued to play gamekeeper and poacher, all but ignoring ministerial threats to play fair or face legislative changes. Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung called communications minister David Cunliffe’s bluff telling business analysts in Sydney in March 2006, she thought the government was far too smart to "do anything dumb" like unbundling; suggesting the broadband issue was just a "manufactured grievance" created by competitors.
In a last ditch attempt to stave off regulation, she wrote to Cunliffe in April offering to accelerate the company's investment in broadband infrastructure by spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" taking fibre-optic cable to almost all small towns by 2010. The offer was rejected and in a backlash Telecom said it would scale back its ambitions by extending its fibre network only in the five main centres of Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin.
A message delivered by rogue Parliamentary messenger Michael Ryan into the hands of a senior Telecom employee on 3 May 2006, proved the government was indeed serious. A budget announcement was planned to bring New Zealand in line with 26 other OECD nations by legislating for local loop unbundling (LLU) along with other proposed changes to telecommunications regulation. That news shaved at least a billion dollars off Telecom’s share index and while those shares quickly bounced back, Telecom was now forced to rethink what it meant to operate in the unconstrained market promised to the country for nearly 20-years.
Changing of the guard at Telecom
Telecom’s chairman, Roderick Deane, nicknamed ‘Doctor Death’ for his ability to wield the knife when it came to restructuring and making the hard decisions, announced his resignation at the end of May. After 14-years on the board he got a golden handshake of $661,000. Weeks later, Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung resigned, after seven years at the helm of the countries largest listed company. She admitted 2006 had been her worst year. The policies set out in the Telecommunications Stocktake Review, including unbundling the local loop, were introduced to Parliament. Communications minister Cunliffe warned further measures may be on the way, possibly even a forced split of Telecom into separate retail and lines companies. Telecom would have to allow its rivals to install equipment at its exchanges.
By May 2006 many Telecom Xtra customers had their accounts upgraded to 3.5Mbit/sec speeds. There were an estimated 300,000 broadband subscribers, around 8 percent of the population, including 100,000 customers outside of the Xtra network, many now operating at 2Mbit/sec with the hope of much greater things on the horizon. CallPlus and Ihug, motivated TelstraClear’s in-house deal, led the charge for unconstrained bitstream (UBS) access believing the Commerce Commission should now deliver on its original promise of 7.5Mbit/sec, opening the way for faster sub-$30 broadband accounts. By June they had got their wish. They were granted wholesale access to the fastest broadband that Telecom could provide but at a price slightly higher than TelstraClear. The Commission also ruled Vodafone’s could interconnect with Telecom’s network to use a mobile as an option for a landline service, that neither party could charge each other to receive local calls.
The 2001 e-Government Strategy, together with the 2003
review, highlighted the ways government could use the Internet
to increase the value of services internally and to all New
Zealanders. The 2006 update took into account the launch of the
Digital Strategy and Development Goals for the State
Services in 2005, focusing on the inevitability of technological
change and the need for government to recognise and meet the
The March 2006 numbers showed New Zealand had clawed back three places to attain 19th ranking in the OECD broadband top 30, still a long way from the top half we were now aimed at. The six monthly ISP survey released by Statistics NZ in March 2006 suggested there were 57 Internet service providers operating in New Zealand, eight less than the previous period. Dial up subscribers were in decline and broadband subscribers had jumped by a third over the previous six months. Internet subscribers totaled 1.3 million and just over a million were residential users with 70 percent still on dial up connections.
When the OECD Communications Outlook figures came out in July, the finger again pointed at New Zealand as having been greedy with profit and stingy on investment. According to the OECD, telecommunications revenue in New Zealand was 5.39 percent of GDP, the highest of any of the 30 OECD countries where the average was around 3 percent.
Commerce Commission ruled on the introduction of
number portability in August, removing one of the last
barriers for customers to switch phone companies. From
April 2007 consumers would be able to keep their fixed-line and
mobile numbers when changing phone companies. The industry had
spent about $100 million to prepare networks for the change. At
stake were total fixed-line revenues worth $8 billion a year and
cellphone revenues of $2 billion. FX Networks had made an
initial investment of $14 million in its Auckland-Wellington
backbone, and was offering high speed services through its
own ISP, the former CRI-owned Comnet, which it had acquired in
2004. By September 2006 FX Networks had cobbled together its
own gigabit speed nationwide network through investment and
partnerships with carrier class operations. It owned 500km of
the fibre in its backbone; a third of which was fibre leased
from Ontrack, owner and manager of New Zealand's railway
infrastructure, and the balance from Kordia and Vector
Communications and Wellington’s CityLink.
Wholesale broadband to ISPs other than Xtra had been choked back to 2Mbit/sec maximum speed, then edged out to 3.5Mbit/sec as legal and competitive pressure mounted after the TelstraClear determination. Then suddenly it was a free-for all, Telecom, as required by the Commerce Commission, announced that from October 2006 all ISPs would get unconstrained broadband. By the end of the month most ISPs had announced new plans for faster Internet access, starting as low as $20 – $30 a month, and at the higher end data caps and speed bumps almost disappeared. Telecom’s Xtra led the way giving its broadband subscribers to access to the maximum download speeds their copper telephone lines could cope with.
Those fortunate enough to live in a neighbourhood close to an exchange, with high grade copper lines and low broadband use, could potentially achieve speeds of up to 7.5Mbit/sec. In most areas however, it was more likely to average 2-3Mbit/sec. The open slather approach showed up the frailty of Telecom’s copper network with more than 10 percent of Internet users now getting slower speeds than previously.
was sufficiently capitalised for the near future planning to
invest up to $200 million over five years on building out its
WiMax network. Ideally though, its roll out of nationwide
phone and Internet services with IPTV as a likely third
component, would involve a mix with DSL. Ihug left
Australia to its new Perth-based owners iiNet, overhauled
its product line, and as New Zealand's largest wholesaler of DSL
broadband, announced its intention to deploy its own network
once access to Telecom's exchanges was permitted. In fact the
country’s third largest ISP, with around 120,000 customers, was
ripe for the picking with iiNet having suffering some set backs
in profitability. It was placed only behind top dogs Xtra
with 500,000 customers and TelstraClear with around
200,000 customers. On 9 October 2006 Vodafone stepped up
and offered its hand paying iiNet $NZ41 million for the ISP.
Submissions to the Telecommunications Bill were still being worked through in September when former Telecom chief technical officer Murray Milner, representing the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) stated Telecom’s copper cable was a major obstacle to the country moving into the top quarter of broadband OECD figures. In the submission on unbundling, Milner said $1.5 billion needed to be spent replacing copper cables with fibre optic to enable 90 percent of New Zealanders to access 5Mbit/sec speeds, the goal set by the Digital Strategy.
In September Telecom Xtra is hit with huge amounts of spam
slowing down delivery of emails sometimes by several days.
Telecom filtered a record 226 million items of spam in
September, compared with 65 million for the same time in 2005.
In November Telecom wholesale customers CallPlus and
Ihug says they’ve spend millions of dollars trying to fix
major problems on their network with thousands of customers
loosing connection sometimes lasting for hours. ISPANZ
puts the problems down to Telecom’s network not handling the
increasing demand for broadband. Telecom blames the ISPs
saying their systems are at fault.
Paul Reynolds, who had been running the wholesale division of British Telecom, arrived in the country in October to take up his role as Telecom’s new chief executive. CityLink, a world pioneer in establishing open fibre networks, and independent community participation in civic affairs, as well as setting the pace for peering was acquired by listed mobile radio company TeamTalk and a partnership of existing management acquired in November 2006 for $22.76 million. State-owned Kordia, the re-branded BCL and THL Group, was actively engaging in alliances that leveraged its nationwide wired and wireless backbone capacity and was planning much more than competitive backhaul and ‘inter-metro capacity’ for ISP’s and new market entrants. Telecom, Vodafone and TelstraClear were now not only its customers but its competitors. The Broadband Challenge, where the Government contributed $24 million to urban fibre network projects, was launched in Lower Hutt on 27 November. It recognised the work done by the local authorities, independent carriers and fibre and wireless networks in delivering broadband access to city centres and communities, particularly where schools and public good services would be offered.
The Telecommunications Amendment Act (No 2) was passed into law on 18 December 2006 with urgency. The revised legislation upgraded the Telecommunications Act 2001. When the Bill went into select committee it proposed separate accounts for Telecom's business arms, but after six months of consideration it came through with a much tougher regime. Telecom would be forced to undergo a three-way operational split, with retail, wholesale and network arms. Communications Minister David Cunliffe said operational separation should be completed by the middle of 2007.
In April 2006 TelstraClear and its subsidiary Sytec
had won the $43 million government contract to build and operate
the KAREN network for REANNZ and run it for four
years. Research institutions and academia would match the
contract figure for further development, and gain access to
10Gbit/sec on TelstraClear’s national fibre optic network,
running on a separate wavelength to its commercial traffic.
KAREN went live mid-December 2006.
Keith Newman's personal research from 15-years writing about
telecommunications,, other resources include Telecom, Clear Communications, Vodafone, The New
Zealand Herald, Sunday Star Times, Pacific Way,
Back to Webzine Global timeline introduction New Zealand telecommunications timeline
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