The Telecommunications Industry Group (TIG), which represents the interests of network operators, could gain a number of new members when the government’s broadband initiative rolls out across New Zealand.
TIG CEO Rob Spray says the local fibre companies that will partner with the government’s rollout in the regions could “certainly” join the industry group. Originally there were to have been 25 regions covered, but this has been expanded.
As some local fibre companies may also cover more than one region, and some will likely be existing telecommunications operators, the exact number of new players remains uncertain.
Asked whether Crown Fibre Holdings, the company that will lead the government’s broadband investment, could join, Spray says he would have to refer that to the board. Spray has been TIG’s first CEO for four months now. He says there are a number of project under way that he is not prepared to go public on as yet. However, the launch of TIG’s event, Planet 2010, is the highest profile-raising move by the group to date.
Spray says Planet 2010 is “the industry reaching out to the public to engage, educate and enthuse on the latest technology and solutions”.
“My board are all in agreement that what we need, and haven’t had for many years, is an event that celebrates and represents the telecommunications industry to New Zealand business and the public broadly,” he says.
He describes the two-day show as “an expo on a grand scale”, featuring technology, applications and solutions, as well as consumer electronics, IT and computing, media and telecommunications.
Last week, TIG announced it had secured astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon, as a speaker to launch both days of the event.
Spray says users have a huge role to play in TIG – as customers.
“Without users and customers our industry would not exist and a key purpose of TIG is to promote the industry. We already have significant engagement with a number of stakeholder groups, but need to expand on this,” he says.
“Currently, we do not see users or customers becoming members as this group is about the network operators and service providers, and we want to remain focused on what we as a group need to do.”
Spray reiterated that TIG would like to have TelstraClear as a member, after that company gave the group a cold shoulder at its launch.
He says TIG’s role in the formulation of government’s broadband policy has been low key so far.
“I think the government had made up their minds on what they wanted and the main principles before TIG was formed. TIG may have more of an impact as the local fibre companies are created and the industry starts to use what has been created through the Ultra Fast Broadband Initiative,” he says.
“Also, as TIG starts to promote telecommunications in New Zealand and grow demand for advanced services, this will have a significant impact on the evolution of the industry in this country.”
Most people don’t realise how much our industry invests each year in New Zealand, he says — over $1 billion per year — or how much telecommunications has increased productivity, with one-third of productivity improvements due to telecommunications.