Jump In #33: The Broadband Debate

This Wednesday Simon will join many other speakers at the Digital Future Now summit, including our guests on this episode.

Bernard Hickey , Ernie Newman and Rob O’Neill will share a panel with Minister for Communications, David Cunliffe. This was their chance to talk behind his back!

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We had a very feisty – and pretty accurate – response from Ben Kepes on this one. Here it is:

Stuff that I disagree about

1)At 1’20" Bernard lists what broadband means for him – all of what he lists I can perform with dodgy DSL sited 5km from the nearest exchange, So the issue would not seem to be speed so much as general access
2) 3" 10 Bernard says we’re stuck with a 1970’s infrastructure which is plain wrong – if one looks at the speed and coverage increase over the past decade one can see that, while progress could definitely be better, we’re still ahead of many of our OECD competitors
3) At 3’20" Bernard says we need the biggest pipes we can get – I contend that in fact we need the widest spread pipes that we can get – we can supersize them once we have the coverage
4) Ernie says at 3’40" that Gen Y live their lives online which is a fact but a) how much of that is actually productive (there is a difference between surfing porn and providing some gain for the country and b) much of what Gen Y surfs isn’t overly bandwidth intensive – thus coverage rather than pipe size is key
5) Rob’s point re increasing bandwidth requirements for new media are valid to a point – but the cost vs speed is a very important issue that given our population and geography cannot be overlooked
6) Bernard’s comments at 7’00" re upload capacity would seem to be red herrings – has he looked at the offerings that give FLS both up and down which are already on the market in New Zealand
7) Bernard’s contention that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders would be freed up to become digital business people if only they had sufficient speed is nothing without hard empirical evidence of the same. People bandy around claims of 10% productivity gains instantaneously with better broadband – that sort of claim demands empirical proof
8) At 9’20 Bernard claims that cloud software requires good pipe size – not correct – I use almost entirely cloud based services on a shonky connection over 5km from the nearest exchange
9) At 14’52" Bernard says that health, media and accounting would somehow move from monopolies to market services with better broadband. None of these services are particularly broadband dependant and using Xero as an example of a monopoly busting global business is just a muddied mixed and confused message
10) At 15’30" Rob uses his example of a "robotic accountant" – the example he gives is entirely do-able on even dial-up (or heaven forbid) voice
11) Bernard’s ridiculous assertion at 16’15" that one can’t transmit a 100 page document with anything other than massive pipes is plain wrong. He should try using Zoho some time to prove himself wrong. Also bizarre is his following assertion that a single cable across the Tasman is somehow a major risk for TradeMe (which is primarily a domestic service not requiring international connectivity).
12) At 19′ Ernie uses online commerce as a reason for better broadband speeds and uses TradeMe as an example – sorry but TradeMe is perfectly accessible over dial-up so the TradeMe use case just doesn’t stack up

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for better connectivity but we need to separate the coverage versus speed discussion – my contention is that widespread coverage is a much more important issue than higher speed

More here .

What do you think?

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