Lithuania: ex-URSS satellite republic, obtained its indepedence of a communist state in 1990, population 3.6 million, GPD US$57 billion, per capita US$ 15,100.
Slovenia: independence from Youguslavia in 1991, population 2 million, GDP US$ 44 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.
New Zealand: independent since 1907, population 4.1 million, GDP US$ 102 billion, per capita US$ 25,500.
What do Lithuania and Slovenia have that we don't have in New Zealand? FTTH. According to a post I found on GigaOM, TEO LT is jumping the (non-) existent copper and going directly to fiber:
Countries with little copper legacy are doing their best to bypass the centuries old access methodology and going straight to fiber, stringing it right to their citizens’ doorsteps. This is especially true in the case of smaller nations – like Slovenia and now Lithuania, one of the former Soviet republics.
This is from the TEO LT press release:
“The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Project is one of the most important network modernisation projects of TEO. Over three years, we will invest more than LTL 100 million in the new optical access network. This strategic solution will enable us to meet the fast-growing customer needs for fast Internet access not only today, but also for many years to come“, - says Arūnas Šikšta, General Manager of TEO LT, AB.
The fiber-optic network, which is being installed by TEO, is a novelty both in Lithuania and in the majority of European countries. Usually, optical fibers are installed up to a multi-family apartment house’s inlet box, from which copper cables are installed to residential apartments. Due to their physical characteristics, such copper cables limit the speed of data communication. TEO will install optical fibers up to the user’s apartment (computer) – that will allow increasing the speed of services provided to the customer up to 1 Gbps.
Another advantage of the fiber-optic network is that, by using it, data can be both uploaded and downloaded at the same speed. It also ensures minimum delay, which is particularly important when using Internet chat applications, organizing video conferences or playing online network games.
TEO plans that the residents of the 5 biggest cities of Lithuania will be the first to use the advantages provided by the fiber-optic network, and in Vilnius the provision of fiber-optic Internet services will be launched already in June.
The LTL 100 million is equivalent to US$ 40 million, and they will roll out a network capable of 1 Gbps to home.
In the case of Slovenia, Telekom Slovenije, has launched a fiber to the home project that will get 50,000 Slovenian homes fiber-based broadband access by end of 2007.
I know the New Zealand terrain is very different from those other countries, but FTTH needs to start somewhere, and our population is concentrated in large citiies (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North). Why not FTTH in these places first?
I know the Wellington City Council is out seeking comments on a broadband strategy plan. But isn't it late?
While this is happening overseas, New Zealand still fights the monopoly in copper. As I wrote before, I don't believe local loop unbundling is the solution. Why share old technology, instead of providing incentives for network providers to invest in deploying new technologies?
The way it is going to be implemented here, I can see all those providers trying to use the old copper, without investing a cent in new technologies, waiting for the incumbent Telecom New Zealand to come with their own solution, and then try to get the government to force Telecom to share their network.
Where's the incentive to investments?
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