On Peering in New Zealand

Across all countries in the OECD, New Zealand is unique in its problems of connectivity to the outside world. A single modern cable system links the country to the outside world. Australia, further away from the United States and its wealth of content, connects to the world via New Zealand, Guam, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Iceland, alone in the Norwegian sea, connects to the world via Canada, Ireland, the UK, and Denmark.
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Digital Divide: Three Classes of Internet Citizens

The government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) programs will greatly improve broadband across the country, but over the nine year long process will create three classes of Internet citizens.

75% of households will eventually have access to ultra fast fibre, with an unlimited potential for speed and traffic utilization. Plans starting at 30mbps download and 10mbps upload (30/10mbps) and faster with 150 gigabytes per month (150GB/month) of traffic are on the market today, and users should reasonably expect to be able to download up to a terabyte of traffic a month at 100mbps as new plans come on the market.
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Digital Dividend Discussion Submission

In August of 2011, New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development Radio Spectrum Management group published a discussion paper entitled “Digital Dividend – Opportunities for New Zealand”. The Digital Dividend is defined as┬áthe part of the radiofrequency spectrum that is able to be freed up following the switch from analogue to digital television, however this discussion paper only considers the “700MHz band” of spectrum and its most likely repurpose for use by cellular telephone and broadband providers. I discuss the Digital Dividend in some detail in an earlier blog post.

This discussion document is part of a consultation process kicked off by the Ministry in April 2011, with an Auckland meeting of industry participants held under Chatham House Rule. A public workshop was held in September to discuss the paper, and written responses were due for submission on Friday the 7th of October. These submissions, including the one below, will be published by the MED, as the initial positions of various industry participants. Comments on submissions will then be sought in a cross-submissions period, with responses due the 9th of November.
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IPv4 in NZ: This Is All We Get

IP Addresses are the foundation of the Internet. IPv4, the version used by the majority of devices on the Internet today, was defined in the late 1970s and allowed for a global network of more than four billion unique devices. Design principles stated that with TCP/IP, end to end connectivity could be established between any device on the network.

By the mid 1990s, over half of the four billion available addresses had been assigned to telecommunications providers, research and educational institutions, governments, health care providers, and commercial organizations. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), sensing impending exhaustion, ratified the replacement for IPv4, a new system called IPv6. This new system provides for an entirely new set of numbers and a network with the potential for 2^128 unique devices. IPv4 utilization however carried on, and in April of 2011 APNIC, the Regional Internet Registry servicing the Asia Pacific, exhausted the majority of its IPv4 space and entered a technical lock-down period, preventing any organization from requesting more than 1,024 new addresses for their network – full stop.
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The Economics of UFB & Committed Information Rates

Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) is here if you live in Whangarei, where local lines company NorthPower started building a gigabit passive optical network (gPON) in 2008 and recently signed with Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH) to be the area’s Local Fibre Company (LFC). Circuit speeds start at 30mbps download / 10mbps upload, with a Committed Information Rate (CIR) of 2.5mbps symmetric (up/down). While an end user may get 30mbps (or higher for some plans) sometimes, CIR is what they’re guaranteed to get at all times between their homes and the local exchange. Continue reading

Backhaul Demand 2015: South Island

Cisco’s Visual Network Index forecasts that Internet traffic in New Zealand will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 44% between 2010 and 2015. They expect the average end user to be downloading almost 14GB per month in 2015, and as a result, they predict average national IP traffic rates of 237 gigabits per second.

Based on the Cisco VNI, population data from Statistics NZ, and fibre maps from Telecom New Zealand, I’ve modeled what I expect to be the basic topology and aggregate peak backhaul demand for the South Island in 2015. Numbers next to each city indicate expected peak demand (calculated at 150% of average demand) in gigabits per second. Each link in the Southern ring will require capacity to transit all traffic in the ring in case of a single link failure. Each link in the Northern ring will require capacity to transit all traffic in both rings. Exit points to North Island cities Levin and Wellington are indicated by arrows in the diagram from Nelson and Blenheim.
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Retail Fixed Line Competition: 2012

Participation in the Government’s Ultra Fast Broadband program means change for Telecom New Zealand, and change for the industry as a whole. Once separated, the industry loses a dominant, vertically integrated retail carrier and moves to a market structure where all telecommunications products will be built from components offered by separate commercial entities.

The diagram below shows transit, national backbone, and last mile options available for companies participating in a post-separation world. A competitive retail provider such as Snap will require a relationship with a transit provider, a national backbone provider, and a last mile provider in each market they want to compete in. Alternatively they could approach a company such as TelstraClear for integrated National Backbone + Last Mile products, or Telecom for integrated National Backbone + International Transit products. TelstraClear, with their strong buying power on Southern Cross Cable, and extensive Wellington and Christchurch HFC networks, remains the only provider with a near vertical approach to some markets.
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