I don’t get why the New Zealand tax payer needs to spend $1,5b on delivering fibre-optic broadband to the masses.  According to Gartner 43% of NZ households had Broadband access in 2007.  Admittedly its DSL but for the average home punter it’s OK and it’s getting better.  Our three leading Telco’s say they can do it and they don’t need the govt money – sure they have a vested interest.
So what are we going to do with better broadband?  We’re going to watch more YouTube and download more movies i.e. spend more on US derived content, wow that’s got to be good for NZ – more mindless drivel.  I don’t think it will make me faster at reading Stuff and NZHerald and if i ever become a Facebooker i’m sure its my typing speed that will be my biggest handicap.
Where’s the economic benefit in this for New Zealand?  Sure, some will argue it provides a platform for New Zealand businesses to promote and sell their products and services overseas.  BUT, if you’re going to do that then you host your web-site in the CLOUD and guess what the CLOUD doesn’t need the NZ fibre-optic network, cos it lives in the US and Europe.
In my experience the biggest issue we face in developing Internet based businesses from New Zealand is getting the market development strategy right.  The Internet is a very big place to pitch a tent.  The problem is not an infrastructure one for NZ based Internet plays, the problem is how do you grow and promote a business globally.  You do this very carefully, one step at a time using the established channels – viral marketing, Internet advertising and social networks.  Perhaps the $1.5b would be better spent by making it available to NZ businesses that are trying to do this (oops, now i have a vested interest! didn’t see that coming).