08 July 2013
Over the last few years, New Zealand has emerged as one of Oceania's most progressive telecommunications markets, ranking 20th in the world for its connectivity, according to the latest World Economic Forum.
This will be further boosted by
two nationwide government initiatives; the Ultra-Fast Broadband
(UFB) project and the Regional Broadband Initiative (RBI). The
former is expected to be completed by 2020, while the latter,
which is a joint venture between Chorus and Vodafone New
Zealand, will see the installation and upgrade of fibre to
roadside cabinets, with retail service providers connecting end
users. "The completion of the UFB and RBI roll-outs, alongside
expansion of 4G mobility and an increasing network of Wifi
hotspots, will deliver increased and more seamless coverage
across the country," says Richard Llewellyn, head of corporate
communications at Telecom New Zealand.
Both Telecom New Zealand; the country’s national
incumbent, and Vodafone New Zealand; the country’s
largest mobile phone operator, have made significant efforts
this year towards increasing domestic connectivity. In April,
Vodafone New Zealand announced its first rural trial of 4G
services in Lake Brunner, in New Zealand’s South
Island, which it expects to run until the end of July using
700MHz technology. "We are working in partnership with the
government to bring broadband to rural communities through the
Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and we have committed to
making all the RBI sites upgradeable to LTE," says Tony Baird,
head of networks at Vodafone New Zealand.
The trial is designed to provide valuable data to support the
eventual roll-out of 4G services in rural New Zealand, and
Vodafone plans to deliver the services to Christchurch,
Wellington and 15 other cities across the country by the end of
2013. Telecom New Zealand also partnered with Chinese equipment
vendor Huawei in April for the deployment of 4G services.
"Given the rapid growth in demand for data and mobility around
the world and in New Zealand, we see it as all about adding to
the quality mobile experience offered by Telecom New
Zealand’s Smartphone Network," says
Research firm BuddeComm confirms the need for better mobile
connectivity in the country, and in a recent report noted New
Zealand’s lack of ubiquitous mobile broadband
coverage, which has led to a heavy reliance on fixed-line
networks. Being a relatively small island nation, New Zealand
places much emphasis on subsea cables for its international
connectivity, an area Telecom New Zealand has strengthened
through its partnership with Vodafone and Telstra for the
Tasman Global Access (TGA) submarine cable.
The TGA cable is designed to link Auckland, in New
Zealand’s North Island, and Sydney, Australia,
reflecting the growing importance of trans-Tasman internet
traffic in the Oceanic region. According to Llewellyn,
connectivity to Australia makes up approximately 40% of both
Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone New Zealand’s
international internet traffic, compared to 10% in 2000. "The
TGA cable will enable New Zealand to better leverage the four
additional international cable systems serving Australia
– with several more proposed or in development
– providing important redundancy for New Zealand," he
The system could also help improve connectivity from New
Zealand to neighbouring Asian markets. "With major fibre
domestic projects in both Australia and New Zealand [such as
the UFB] it will be interesting to see the impacts on
downstream international connectivity demand," says Fiona Beck,
president and CEO at Southern Cross Cable.
Southern Cross is largely focussed on connectivity between
Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the continental US.
"We recently introduced 10G and 40G OTN service offerings, and
are developing 40GbE and 100GbE, along with 100G OTN services
in partnership with our suppliers which we plan to bring to
market over the next 12 to 18 months," Beck says.
The company recognises a need for data consolidation in key
locations not only in New Zealand but internationally, and
notes the need to strike important relationships with data
centres. "Over the last 18 months we have also expanded our
options to include connectivity directly to Equinix in Sydney,
along with the Westin Building in Seattle which houses a
majority of the major content providers," Beck says.
Southern Cross is also looking to connect directly to Los
Angeles, as well as a potential second location in Sydney, and
one in Auckland.
Beck believes that in spite of the country’s
remote location and relatively small population, the roll-out
of the UFB and the deployment of the trans-Tasman cable will
address the country’s furture demand for domestic
and international connectivity. "I think the next few years
will prove interesting and hopefully supportive to New Zealand
operators in this area," she says.
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
GDP (2011 est.)