MORE CHOICE FOR RURAL KIWIS TO DRIVE INNOVATION...
As the country awaits the governments decision on the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), questions are being asked about how this decision will affect rural New Zealanders for years to come.
There has been a lot of speculation by the media on which consortium will be the winner. Telecom and Vodafone have gone so far as to publish details of their bid on the Vodafone website. Until today, OpenGate: FX Networks has not. This has inadvertently generated an impressive amount of public misinformation about the OpenGate: FX Networks solution which the consortium now wants to address.
One million people in the rural sector deliver two-thirds of the country’s export earnings, and require the very best technology, right now, to succeed. Simply put, OpenGate (Kordia and Woosh) and FX Networks plan to bring the fastest, cheapest broadband to rural New Zealand. Their solution will deliver a 10 Mbps or more broadband connection to 83% of rural New Zealand for as low as $60 per month, with access from within two years – not six.
“In addition to the low prices, we have proposed to deliver extensive new infrastructure for our rural communities,” says FX Networks Managing Director Murray Jurgeleit. “We are committed to delivering guaranteed performance through the latest technology to put us ahead of our international trading partners. We can create an environment of choice, innovation and competition to ensure rural New Zealand is well served in broadband technology for years to come.”
How many rural Kiwis will actually get the new high speed services?
Kordia CEO Geoff Hunt says that OpenGate can connect a customer at full speed 40 kilometres from a wireless site, and that it’s a significant advance on what can be achieved with copper. “The combination of fibre and 4G wireless technology enables us to very quickly deploy high-speed broadband to many more rural Kiwis,” says Hunt.
So how much new infrastructure does rural New Zealand get for $285 million?
Building on the success of the FX Networks’ inter-city fibre network widely used by Government, the carrier community and numerous business clients, FX Networks will build out 7,700 kilometres of new rural fibre to deliver high-speed broadband to rural schools, as well as connections to new and existing wireless towers. Following completion, an extensive 11,000 kilometres of RBI-funded and existing FX Networks’ inter-city fibre will be available to other network operators on an open access basis, and at prices more competitive than those of incumbent fibre operators.
Kordia and Woosh (OpenGate) will put a massive 70 MHz of wireless spectrum into play – spectrum that is available now. Hunt says that despite media assumptions, nobody knows who will win the 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2013.
Kordia will deploy 506 new radio access base stations using the latest 4th generation (4G) wireless technology. Kordia (formerly BCL for those in the industry) is New Zealands most experienced company in the installation and maintenance of wireless towers – ironically better recognised for its expertise in Australia than here at home. Kordia has built more than 3,000 towers here in New Zealand and overseas.
OpenGate’s towers and RBI-funded broadband network will be available to other network operators to use or build on to deliver their own solutions.
The OpenGate: FX Networks consortium is offering the same advanced technology (4G LTE) thats being installed in Australia, the U.S., China and India as an upgrade to aging and congested 3G networks. Hunt says that this technology means that any individual tower can be scaled up to deliver more than 1.7 gigabits per second, enabling hundreds of users to have ultra-fast broadband off a single tower without slowing down service.
“We think that this infrastructure and platform truly sets up rural New Zealand for the next generation of very high speed Internet,” he says.
Users get what they pay for.
Hunt says that the OpenGate/FX Networks broadband network will deliver 100 Mbps to rural schools, 10 – 20 Mbps to 83% of rural New Zealanders and an impressive 20+ Mbps to 67% of rural Kiwis.
“We can support a lot of people on the Internet at these impressive speeds at the same time. This is due to the amount of spectrum we have when combined with 4G.
“We are offering 10 Mbps at better prices than in the cities today - not an “up to” offer. New Zealanders are sick and tired of high contention ratios and actual performance that bears no relation to advertised “up to” speeds.
“What’s more, the speed and coverage calculations will be underwritten by the international equipment vendor we select, so if we have to deploy more equipment to meet these guaranteed speeds, there will be no additional cost. By international standards the RBI network is pretty small, so it is low-risk to 4G vendors that are multi-billion dollar corporations,” he says.
Ensuring faster service at better prices in years to come.
The OpenGate: FX Networks infrastructure is separate and distinct from the existing copper and 3G networks, and it will foster head-to-head competition. The consortium has already agreed to collaborate with Maori interests and the Regional Fibre Group (RFG). All this competition will serve rural New Zealand well and is the critical component that should be delivered by the RBI’s $285m grant.
“We believe that the best way to ensure continued innovation in services and to keep prices coming down is to get more truly open access wholesale competition into rural New Zealand,” says Jurgeleit.
“One million people in the rural sector deliver two-thirds of the country’s export earnings, and we believe they deserve the very best broadband that is available today. We are focused on solutions that are leading the way in broadband deployment around the world and we believe passionately that a market with competition is a market with a sustainable future.
“The RBI is a great initiative and we want rural New Zealanders to be the winners.”
Kordia is a boutique telco and media business which provides network and technology solutions that enable customers with specialised communications needs to succeed. Kordia has the combined experience of 900 talented people and over 60 years’ experience in the design, build, maintenance and operation of some of New Zealand and Australia’s most trusted networks. Kordia’s track record of wireless construction with over 3000 sites now deployed throughout New Zealand and Australia is extensive and impressive. The name Kordia comes from the Latin ‘accordia’ meaning harmony – bringing people and technology together as one.
About Woosh Wireless
Woosh was founded in 2003 and has its own independent wireless network. Woosh provides both wireless and fixed line broadband products. Woosh brings 35MHz of spectrum to the OpenGate consortium. While Kordia will be contracted to build the wireless deployment, Woosh brings considerable expertise with its experience in wireless IP broadband voice and data services around New Zealand. Woosh has a history of driving competition into rural New Zealand and delivering service into hard-to-reach rural locations.
About FX Networks
FX Networks is very well-known within the industry for its fibre optic cable-laying expertise and networks services delivery to Government, Health, Education and business. FX Networks has been instrumental in driving down telecommunications prices by more than 60% in its coverage area.
For more information, contact:
John van Dinther
021 420 489
Ground floor, FX Networks House, 138 The Terrace
PO Box 24 449, Wellington, 6142
+64 4 498 7762