TUANZ disappointed by Budde's broadband blitz

'Paul Budde has it wrong,' says Ernie Newman

TUANZ is taking issue with Paul Budde's criticisms of New Zealand's approach to broadband, with senior executives of the industry group saying they are "perplexed and disappointed" at the analyst's comments, delivered at round-table sessions in Auckland and Wellington this week.

"I usually look forward to Paul Budde's annual foray into NZ. But his scathing criticism of the government's ultra fast broadband plans during his roundtable this week and in subsequent media comments have left me, and TUANZ Chairman Chris O'Connell who attended in Wellington, perplexed and disappointed," a TUANZ blog post says.

See also: Government 'asking for a disaster' on broadband
In the post, TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman says he doesn't think Budde has invested enough time in studying the realities of the New Zealand market.

"He is benchmarking the New Zealand plan against the Australian equivalent. But there are huge differences, not only in scale and affordability, but also in industry structure," Newman says.

"One key difference is the degree to which competitive carriers and infrastructure providers are demonstrating their capability in New Zealand. The electricity lines companies have shown a very strong interest in being a part of the fibre era."

Newman points out that several lines companies, including Vector, NorthPower and Electricity Ashburton, have "proved their capability in telco land".

He also cites players such as FX Networks and inspire.net.

"They, as much as Telecom, are a part of our telecommunications DNA. Competition is working in this market," Newman says.

Newman does agree with Budde that 33 regions is a lot.

"But nobody expects to find 33 Local Fibre Companies — the country has been divided this way so as to give some locical way for bidders to cover clusters of regions," he points out.

"So I'm disappointed in Paul's negativity this time round. Joyce is a very experienced and successful businessman, surrounded by an excellent team of dedicated officials on this project. In my view, and that of the TUANZ Board, he's got the fundamentals right."

Newman says he does agree with Budde that a national design plan is needed. TUANZ has been asking for such an architecture for two years, he says. Newman also agrees with Budde's emphasis on Trans Sectoral policies, "although I don't like the name," he says.

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