We will lead discussions on what a “next generation” approach is to Universal Service Obligations
New Zealand needs a new national connectivity “aspiration”, beyond what is currently being delivered by the Rural Broadband Initiative and the UltraFast Broadband Initiative. We believe in a future whereby everyone in New Zealand that wants to can connect to high speed, high reliability networks, and where the digital divides between rural and urban, rich and poor are minimised and eventually removed.
We intend to start that process in the 2014/15 year by undertaking a project to articulate this vision, and how it may be achieved. We will do so firstly by reviewing what has already been achieved, not only through the UFB and RBI, but also through understanding what the true current scope of network availability is in New Zealand, with the help of NZRS and research that we will commission through community funding. We will also review the affordability of the Internet in New Zealand, again through specifically commissioned research to understand where and to what degree financial divides in Internet access are present.
We will then utilise these insights to portray a new vision for how New Zealand can make Internet access truly universal, and utilise this vision to drive our future policy engagements with the Government, as well as inform our discussions with network builders and operators.
Update: 15th July 2015
We are often asked why we don't focus more on Internet Access. The simple answer to that is that we do - its at the heart of what we do in our work in the Internet Connectivity Portfolio of the Issues Programme, as you can see in the strategic transformations from our plan for this portfolio:
Future regulatory models unclear, and discussion on them dominated by narrow commercial concerns
Regulatory standards developed and articulated through to 2020 through a multistakeholder process.
Some New Zealanders are unable to connect to the Internet with speed that allows them to fully participate online
All New Zealanders are able to participate online due to affordable, ubiquitous and open Internet.
Many New Zealanders face challenges inaccessing the internet – be they economic, social, geographic or cultural.
Digital divides of all kinds – economic, social, geographic, cultural – are understood, and plans are being implemented to address and remove them.
We've been thinking about how to explain this better. What has occurred to us is that this would more simply be done if we renamed the portfolio to be Internet Access and cut out the explanatory middle man.
InternetNZ believes in universal access to the Internet. There are barriers of all kinds that are in the way of that - that we are working on, and that we will continue to work on. The current name for the portfolio of Internet Connectivity does not do the range and complexity of that work justice. To make this clearer, we have elevated this project of work as part of our new strategy, and have renamed the current Internet Connectivity Portfolio of our Issues Programme as Internet Access.
As part of our Internet Access work, we will continue to articulate our vision for how New Zealanders need to be connected, and how to get there, and deliver to the strategic transformations outlined above.
Update: 23rd July 2015
InternetNZ recognises the fine achievement of NZRS in launching the National Broadband Map. Our press release is available here: https://internetnz.nz/news/launch-new-national-broadband-map
This is directly related to our work on Internet Access in New Zealand. We need to get clear on what connectivity New Zealanders already enjoy; not only so we can get clear on where the gaps really are that need to be plugged, but also so we can move onto the other aspects of digital divide in New Zealand.
Update: 30th March 2015
We are proud to close out our work with Digital Development Associates on Hills Holes and Poles. The site will live on at www.hillsholesandpoles.nz as an ongoing repository and resource for those wishing to deliver their own connectivity aspirations and seeking advice.
The centrepiece of this work is the four step recipe. It is outlined here as a high level guide as to how communities can get help and advice on how to build infrastructure: http://www.hillsholesandpoles.nz/the-4-step-recipe/
Update: 2nd February 2015
InternetNZ has published our latest submission on the pending review of the Telecommunications Act. This submisson is available here: https://internetnz.nz/content/telco-act-review
This submission is releated to our work on Internet Access because we anticipate that this review will include an opportunity to review the Telecommunciations Service Obligations (TSO) - the mechanism through which the New Zealand Government seeks to deliver Universal Service in New Zealand and the objective of our work in this project. Following the close of this financial year, our work on this project will be included as part of the Telecommunications Act review work.
Update: 4th December 2014
The National Business Review has written about our Hills Holes and Poles work here: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/new-site-lets-rural-communities-share-broadband-tips-%E2%80%94-and-backer-slams-big-boys-ck-165692
Update: 21st November 2014
We're excited today to announce our new initiaitve, Hills Holes and Poles, in partnership with Digital Development Associates.
Hills Holes and Poles is devoted to explaining alternative methods of increasing Internet access in New Zealand. Many communities have a fine history of self-provision, providing their own connectivity solutions where the larger operators won't go. We want to tell these stories - highlight what has worked and what hasn't, in the hope that we can encourage more communities to increase access themselves too.
This is an important part of InternetNZ's work on articulating a new vision for Universal Access to the Internet in New Zealand - ensuring that ubiquitous connectivity is available. Yes, there are other challenges after that when it comes to digital divides; providing connectivity is but the first of these challenges.
Hills Holes and Poles is an online initiaitve, and will live at www.hillsholesandpoles.nz.
Update: 9th September 2014
We recognise the launch of Telco2's report on the affordability of Rural Broadband in New Zealand. This work was funded in part by an InternetNZ Community Grant. This report is available here: http://telco2.co.nz/tc2bba2014.pdf