Rod Drury: Broadband – our new red socks


Rod Drury

The farmers weighing in on broadband issue this week is significant. The traditional old economy joins the new economy in laying out the importance of connecting New Zealanders to the world.

While the two main parties squabble over the extent of domestic fibre penetration, what would really make the New Zealand boat go faster is connecting our remote island nation to the global economy. 

Numbers as low as $700m have been thrown around to connect NZ inc to the rest of the planet, unlockling the vast benefits to business, education, entertainment and health.

The market has shown that if a private company equity funds our connection it is priced for scarcity.  If the government created the framework for debt funding our international connection – pricing can be cost plus. Broadband is a user pays model. This may not cost the government any money to fix.

Imagine how popular it would be for the political party who gets this. We could hire the ship.  All of New Zealand could track daily progress as we lay our cable to the world's biggest markets.
Connecting New Zealand to the world could be our new red socks campaign. Team New Zealand working together. That is our competive advantage.

Let's start now.

Rod Drury
Chief Executive, Xero 

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Let us not be mis-lead by the assumption that should New Zealand obtain good Broadband / Internet we will join the new economies of the world

The Internet and the Web are two different things, we could have the best, the fastest, the greatest internet / broadband in the world but if the old economy does not participate correctly on the Web, all the efforts used to obtain the best broadband would have been for nought and there will be no new economy.

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I like the red socks idea. It's unfortunate that we have to pressure the government to take on these initiatives when it's so dam obvious in the first place. Then when they do make a decision we are talking years.

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I heartily agree that international connectivity should be the priority. Recent research on ICT readiness suggests that NZ is already missing the boat.

There are a whole host of reasons why we need to develop better broadband and ICT penetration to improve innovation levels throughouout the economy.

But can we please first draw on our intellectual assets to benchmark our current position and then articulate a proper economic business case?

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