The future of Wired Telecommunications in NZ

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16 years 2 months ago #11527 by GrantK
Nobody has started a decent Internet-related thread for a while, so I thought that it's time someone did [^]

Today, I was given some information about the future shape of Wired Telecommunications in NZ. Some of you may have heard of Telecom's NGN (Next Generation Network) and have been wondering what it all means for you. In this post, I will do my best to explain it in layman's terms.

How the NGN affects you will depend on where you live:

New Subdivisions

A technology called FTTH (Fibre to the Home) is being used here, which means that a fibre-optic cable will come right inside your house, where it will terminate in a box called a ONT (Optical Network Termination). Out of that box will come the following interfaces:

- Phone
- Broadband Internet up to at least 100Mbps
- TV

Giving the so-called Triple Play services.

Because not many people on LSB live in new subdivisions, I won't spend any more time on it, but most urban dwellers will have similar services eventually.

Existing Cities and Towns with 500 or more lines

The plan here is to roll out Roadside Cabinets over the next few years to all cities and towns with 500 or more lines. This will mean that at least 600 of the 700 telephone exchanges will become redundant. Roadside Cabinets will be connected by Fibre Optic Cable rather than copper, so it will be more reliable and much much faster.

The aim is to have all copper lines limited to a maximum of 1.5 to 2km in length, which will allow for much faster broadband.

When connected to one of these Roadside Cabinets, subscribers will enjoy:

- Phone (with a few hours battery backup if the power goes off)
- Broadband Internet up to 24Mbps depending on distance
- Some form of TV or Movies on demand (yet to be worked out)

Because these roadside cabinets will be much smaller than existing exchanges, there won't be room for the huge battery banks which have kept phones working through extended power outages in the past. Numbers being tossed around are 4 to 6 hours battery life.

Because nearly all areas included in this roll-out will be urban or small towns, it is reasonable to assume that most people would have mobile phones as an emergency backup should their landline fail. Wired phones are becoming increasingly rare, and cordless phones don't work without power anyway, so it may be a moot point by the time this technology reaches your street.

Rural areas and towns with less than 500 lines

Unfortunately, many LSB dwellers are included in this category, and here the picture is not so rosy :(

- Existing copper lines will be maintained but not improved

- Any new subdivisions in these areas will likely be connected by Fibre Optics as mentioned above, but this will not necessarily result in any improvement of services to surrounding areas

- Over time, the equipment in existing exchanges will replaced as it becomes unreliable

- This will entail a replacement of the existing PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) equipment with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) equipment which can be connected to an IP-based infrastructure

- VoIP equipment is unlikely to support 56k modems, but it will support slower speeds of 33k and less

It's a bit like the change now under way from Analogue TV to Digital. Sometimes the picture on digital is not quite as "clean" as the best analogue signal. There are "compression artifacts" and the picture jerks if the camera is panned quickly. However, Digital TV supports Widescreen and High Definition. As with anything, there are trade-offs to be made.

What does this mean for Rural Dwellers?

1) Don't expect that your telephone line is going to get any better unless the nearest city encroaches and you become part of suburbia

2) If you are on Dial-up with a speed of more than 33kbps, the speeds are likely to become slower in the next few years as the existing PCM equipment gets replaced

3) Have a serious look at getting Wireless Internet from land-based towers, or Satellite Internet if the Wireless option is unavailable.

A Hamilton company called Rural Link are now offering installation from $550 to people who are in range of Kordia's network, and the monthly sub starts from $60.

There are various other Wireless Internet providers in particular parts of the country such as Western Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Manawatu and Canterbury. Their prices vary quite a lot, but you can usually get installation for under $1000 and monthly cost of less than $100, or by signing up with Farmside, it is possible to reduce the up-front installation cost in exchange for a 3-year contract.

Finally, if you are stuck with either remaining on Dial-up, or getting Satellite Internet, there are various options available starting from an installation cost of $500 all the way up to $2000. Monthly costs range from $30 up to $200 or so.

No doubt, this will raise further questions, so post away people :p

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 2 months ago #178839 by max2
Great post Grant!

A reply from a silly non techno person... (don't sigh so heavily Grant when you read my name I can hear you from here :D [;)])

What I don't understand is why keep rolling out more expense cable, regardless of location, and just go satellite for everything.... I mean our pay TV signal here in Aussie is satellite, I "think" (sure) NZ pay TV Sky is satellite.... so why more cable?

With more and more of us on internet, phone and fax, and the offerings of global, why not shove another satellite, or co-host, and provide satellite....

My next query and thought is, because we as a family would like to pick and choose between what both NZ and Aussie offer, possibly more in regard to Pay TV, why not offer a global satellite service, whether it be for pay TV or internet access or whatever.

To my mind, there has to be more than us 3 out there who would really like and use these types of services, and would be happy to "link" them into one family account, Pay TV, internet, telephone, mobiles etc regardless of where we are. So many people o/s are using satellite telephones on their travels to keep in touch using a trusted signal, so why keep cable rolling out?

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16 years 2 months ago #178841 by oskatd
My boss went to a meeting about the roll out of new cabinets yesterday, will have to wait til Monday to see if we're getting one up here. I think Tauranga is one of the first to roll out, probably due to the terrible service they offer at the moment...... Ofcourse for those with Line of Sight, there is EOL, who offer a fantastic service (if you can get it).

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16 years 2 months ago #178845 by GrantK
Some good questions there Swaggie, so here goes:

swaggie;150285 wrote: What I don't understand is why keep rolling out more expense cable, regardless of location, and just go satellite for everything.... I mean our pay TV signal here in Aussie is satellite, I "think" (sure) NZ pay TV Sky is satellite.... so why more cable?

The simple answer is: Bandwidth

About the fastest download speed you can get on Consumer Grade satellite internet is 1Mbps and even that is expensive. For those on dial-up, 1Mbps sounds terribly fast, but actually it's very slow compared to wired internet or ADSL.

Of course it is possible to get faster than 1Mbps from a satellite, but you need to be very rich to pay the monthly bills. We are talking businesses here, not homes.

If you only ever surf the web, get your e-mails and watch the odd bit of YouTube, 1Mbps is fast enough; but if you want to download Movies or large software files such as ISOs, it is nowhere near fast enough.

That is where ADSL2+ with its 24Mbps speed -- or better still fibre optics -- comes into its own.

swaggie;150285 wrote: My next query and thought is, because we as a family would like to pick and choose between what both NZ and Aussie offer, possibly more in regard to Pay TV, why not offer a global satellite service, whether it be for pay TV or internet access or whatever.

To my mind, there has to be more than us 3 out there who would really like and use these types of services, and would be happy to "link" them into one family account, Pay TV, internet, telephone, mobiles etc regardless of where we are.

That is already possible, but it's the realm of enthusiasts who like to "hack" Pay TV decoders and have large 3-5 metre dishes on their front lawn.

Maybe one day it will be a commercial possibility as the world becomes more and more akin to a global village.

swaggie;150285 wrote: So many people o/s are using satellite telephones on their travels to keep in touch using a trusted signal, so why keep cable rolling out?

I know that in Australia, people use Satellite phones in the outback, because there really is no other solution, but it's pretty uncommon over here. I have heard of people using them in places like Fiordland and other very remote areas when doing inspection of Power Stations etc, but your employer really needs to pay the bills, because the cost is prohibitive for most people, unless it's for business purposes.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 2 months ago #178848 by max2
Isn't that small minded thinking on behalf of local businesses Grant?

I recall a couple of years ago, on talkback Sydney radio, a fellow telephoned John Laws (don't groan people, its the SOH's fault) from Siberia or Russia somewhere, and because he was travelling in a toyota, and JL did the advertising for "toys for boys", the caller received airplay, anyhow he was on a satellite telephone because "normal" cell phone coverage just wasn't possible..... (his travels were interesting though).

Now to bring this to my local level, my Uncle in Western Aussie does a lot of 4WD'ing, and he also uses a satellite phone to keep in touch with the family for small 3 day trips...

He isn't anyone special, works for a living in the public non servant quarter, but still has to rely on satellite to communicate with the rest of the state when his vehicle's computer (fairly, others) breaks down.

I just think there are so many of us out of "normal" range for telephones and internet, in both countries, that the mindset of getting out of one country's provider range, has (needs) to be met, for a collective of uses.

but geese, that is just my way of thinking, after looking at Kordia, and other service providers websites that cover the general world "area"....

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16 years 2 months ago #178853 by GrantK

swaggie;150294 wrote: Isn't that small minded thinking on behalf of local businesses Grant?
...
Now to bring this to my local level, my Uncle in Western Aussie does a lot of 4WD'ing, and he also uses a satellite phone to keep in touch with the family for small 3 day trips...

He isn't anyone special, works for a living in the public non servant quarter, but still has to rely on satellite to communicate with the rest of the state when his vehicle's computer (fairly, others) breaks down.

Well, maybe your satellite phone charges in Australia are a whole lot cheaper than here Swaggie, I don't know.

So that others can make up their own mind about the expensiveness or otherwise, here are the rates that Telecom (Globalstar's NZ partner) charge:

www.telecom.co.nz/satellitephone

Not exactly small change @ $1.50 per minute to local numbers [:0]

Then there's $1999 + GST for this outdated-looking puppy:



I rest my case :p

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 2 months ago #178878 by DiDi
As long as we have politicians in this country who ignore the huge benefit of farming to the GDP, we will have crap services. Did Fonerra not play a part in getting coverage to their cockies? What does that say about monopoly interests in this County? But why be surprised?

We are a tiny little South Seas island with the population of towns overseas and yet we have been raised on an expectation of global services when our population base does not support the infrastructure costs.

Trouble is - we rural people are going to become the peasant farmers as seen in India etc because we aren't "contributing" to the global economy. Say what? (refer sentence 1). How do we educate the politicians, the urbanites, the foreign investors that without "us" this country is stuffed? Oh hang on, Helen is about to sign a free trade agreement with China - that should save us.

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16 years 2 months ago #178881 by GBpeter

DiDi;150326 wrote:
We are a tiny little South Seas island with the population of towns overseas .....

.


Actually NZ is larger than the UK - which is the problem given the low population/capital base :)

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16 years 2 months ago #178886 by DiDi
Sorry GBPeter - for the sake of clarity, I totally agree with you which is why I made the comment about our population base (as in minute in comparison) not being capable of supporting the infrastructure costs required to enable global expectations.

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16 years 2 months ago #179264 by max2

DiDi;150334 wrote: Sorry GBPeter - for the sake of clarity, I totally agree with you which is why I made the comment about our population base (as in minute in comparison) not being capable of supporting the infrastructure costs required to enable global expectations.


Your Helen was just meeting with our Kevin and talking of new agreements between our Countries.
Whilst the population of Aussie isn't that huge either, if we brought together this "sector" of the world and acted as one group, between us all we would have enough knowledge and power to get that sort of infrastructure together.

I am buggered to know why for instance Aussie cannot download NZ Pay TV and visa versa, yet the population supports both businesses successfully. (although we pay a premium for our subscription, my Uncle in Switzerland's rate is extremely low compared to ours).

I cannot help but think if you removed the "shareholder" consideration from some of these businesses, then more services would return to the consumer.... and thus is the start of the entire problem, the businesses do not worry about the customer any more..... :(

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16 years 2 months ago #179269 by GrantK

swaggie;150737 wrote: I am buggered to know why for instance Aussie cannot download NZ Pay TV and visa versa

I have a relative who works at TV3 so I can shed some light on this...

It all boils down to copyright issues (again) [xx(]

The rights holders being the various producers of the "entertainment" which litters our screens, have stitched up the market as follows:

- NZ Free-to-Air
- NZ Pay TV
- Aussie Free-to-Air
- Aussie Pay TV

Woe betide any broadcaster who crosses the line by making their programmes available outside the intended coverage area.

The overseas producers of course make more money by selling their programmes into both markets individually, rather than as one joint market.

So, once again, we as the consumer are being screwed for money by the copyright holders.

One could argue that the internet is making all of this irrelevant with many young people watching all their movies and favourite programmes by digital download, rather than waiting for them to be broadcast.

Personally, I don't condone that sort of copyright infringement, but the rights holders only have themselves to blame because they have been robbing us blind for decades [xx(]

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 2 months ago #179340 by max2
Agree.

But aren't NZ Sky and Aussie Foxtel both owned by Murdoch in various life forms?
He could make more motsas if he offered a pacific basin package including satellite linked internet and telephone services...

I just think the opportunities are out there for communication companies, and all they want to do is roll out more cable, that isn't going to assist those who don't have a basic service (or poor access) to it to start with.... (ie most of NZ and country Aust).

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16 years 2 months ago #179354 by GrantK

swaggie;150815 wrote: But aren't NZ Sky and Aussie Foxtel both owned by Murdoch in various life forms?

Yes, that's right. But this way Murdoch gets to sell the same sh1te twice which makes even more $$$ [xx(]

swaggie;150815 wrote:
He could make more motsas if he offered a pacific basin package including satellite linked internet and telephone services...

I guess there would be a small market for trans-tasman dwellers like you Swaggie who are either in one place or the other.

We are facing this at the moment with 2 x Sky Subscriptions (one in Auckland and one at Russell) each chewing up around $45 per month.

Over Christmas, the nice man from Sky upgraded our dish so we can now relocate our MkSky decoder to either property. I think I will can the Sky sub in Auckland because the house will go on the market in a few months, and we are either in one place or the other and can move the decoder accordingly. There are plenty of Free-to-Air channels to watch in Auckland and when we are not here, the kids hardly watch Sky at all. They are meant to be studying or working anyway, so there seems little point in having 2 Sky subscriptions any more.

So... I do understand where you are coming from. It's just a pity you can't shift your Aussie Pay TV decoder over here when you are residing in "The Shed" :)

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 2 months ago #179427 by KiwiOverseas

GrantK;150300 wrote:
So that others can make up their own mind about the expensiveness or otherwise, here are the rates that Telecom (Globalstar's NZ partner) charge:

www.telecom.co.nz/satellitephone

Not exactly small change @ $1.50 per minute to local numbers [:0]

Then there's $1999 + GST for this outdated-looking puppy:

nice post grant! There are a lot of new technologies on the horizon but as you point out, hard to see how any of this will be of benefit to rural users. Then again - this is something that govts/ telco's are struggling with around the world. Standard copper based broadband is relatively cheap - if deployed in urban areas where there is a population base, and it provides reasonable performance - but distance is the killer (as we all know). If you want the same level of performance over a longer distance - then single mode fibre is really the only option. Satellite will cover the distance as well, but performance will be limited and cost is a problem (btw - I thought the $1.50 per minute NZ was quite good as I've been working on a couple of projects in the Philippines where the per minute charges for some services are in the USD $2-$4 per minute range).

DiDi wrote: Trouble is - we rural people are going to become the peasant farmers as seen in India etc because we aren't "contributing" to the global economy.

Completely agree with you DiDi - and would expand it to include just about any independent business these days.

Actually the situation here in India for farmers is dire. In many cases the plots are simply too small to be productive enough for the amount of investment that goes into it. Plus the land is owned by large wealthy landlords who charge high rents. Leading cause of death for India farmers is suicide - about 500 a week.

If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

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16 years 2 months ago #179661 by max2
Firstly what I cannot get my head around is most Pay TV signals are satellite, and we as customers can draw down the "signal" to watch it whenever we want to, baring incidents or storm interference, and it costs the same every month..... and no one talks about satellite costs being expensive for that service.

So, why cannot telecommunication giants do the same for telephone and internet at reasonable costs?
Why does it have to cost so much per minute simply because the signal is via a satellite?

That is the bit that I cannot understand....

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