Festival pushes for 'true' broadband services

Making "true" broadband more widely available to New Zealanders is the aim of the Festival of Technology 2003, to be held in Wellington next week.

Making “true” broadband more widely available to New Zealanders is the aim of the Festival of Technology 2003, to be held in Wellington next week.

Run by InternetNZ, the festival will bring together representatives of government, internet providers and users. Director Martin Foster says it will expand upon InternetNZ’s AGM with “a proper summit”.

An agreed definition of broadband is elusive, but Foster says “proper” broadband will deliver services such as video on demand. “It’s not ADSL-type stuff.”

“We need to get an understanding of what broadband means,” he says.

The festival will study broadband developments in Canada, where the government took a key role in introducing broadband services to the regions, Foster says.

“The Canadian government some time back decided that because of their thin population distribution, they had to put the infrastructure in. The government saw proper broadband as a key ingredient in making Canada competitive.”

The first day of the festival, June 18, will open with a video link to David G Macneil, director of network relations for the Canadian programme, CANARIE.

Speakers at the festival include the Minister of Telecommunications, Paul Swain, and representatives of InternetNZ, NGI (Next-Generation Internet) NZ, CityLink, Wired Country, Telecom, and Walker Wireless.

InternetNZ intends to follow the festival with a roadshow to the regions.

“We believe that it’s our responsibility to make people aware of the different options out there,” Foster says, citing Wellington’s CityLink network as an example of what is possible.

An even bigger festival is planned for next year. “It’s fair to say InternetNZ’s going to become far more proactive in giving a voice to internet users,” says Foster.

InternetNZ is accepting registrations on its website.

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