Latest UFB Stage Secures West Coast Network Resilience

A 250 km fiber optic connection between Fox Glacier and Haast completes the project, providing the West Coast with modern and resilient communications.

Until now, the region depended on two lines. One runs along State Highway 6 from Nelson to Greymouth. The other connects Greymouth to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass crossing the seismic zone of the Alpine Fault.

This arrangement left the West Coast vulnerable to communications blackouts in severe weather.

To Lake Hawea and the world

The connection between Fox Glacier and Haast and then Lake Hawea provides an additional route to the rest of the world.

Chorus GM, Customer and Network Operations Andrew Carroll says the connection gives West Coasters an extra layer of protection.

Crown Infrastructure Partners provided government funding for the project. The work was carried out by Ventia and Electronet, two Chorus subcontractors and the Rural Connectivity Group play an important role.

Communications Minister David Clark said the UFB expansion was funded through the Provincial Growth Fund.

West Coast Connectivity

He says: “On the west coast alone, the population with access to UFB has increased from 23% to 71% since 2017.”

In addition to the connection, the new connection brings fiber to the small west coast community in Haast. About 90 households will now be able to order a fiber connection there.

Carroll says, “Making fiber available to Haast residents was a Kiwi-only initiative; it sees residents of one of New Zealand’s most remote towns gaining access to one of the fastest broadband technologies available.

The new fiber allowed the Rural Connectivity Group to add 16 more cell towers in the region. These are in addition to the 26 cell towers operational on the west coast. They mean residents will have 4G mobile services while 80 miles of remote state highways will be covered.

Vocus and 2 degrees get an OIO nod

Vocus NZ and 2degrees welcome today’s statement from the Overseas Investment Office giving consent for the acquisition of 2 degreeswhich will allow the merger of the two companies.

Mark Callander, CEO of Vocus NZ and appointed CEO of the combined business, said: “We welcome the OIO’s consent, which completes regulatory approvals for the transaction and will allow us to proceed with the merger of Vocus NZ and 2 degrees. We expect the transaction to close in the coming weeks and to come together as a combined company as 2degrees on June 1. »

Trustpower sale to Mercury now unconditional

Mercury NZ told the NZX its NZ$467 acquisition of Trustpower’s retail business is now unconditional.

The move sees the energy company become a second-tier telecommunications retailer and New Zealand’s largest multi-service utility company.

The rest of Trustpower has been renamed Manawa Energy and says it will focus on renewables.

While Trustpower was a minnow to Spark, Vodafone and recently merged 2degrees-Orcon, it was the second-largest fixed broadband retailer with a 6% market share.

It recently added fixed wireless broadband to its product offering.

Combined with Mercury customers, this rises to 7.8%. Spark is around 40%, while Vodafone and 2degrees are each around 20%. The top five account for more than 85% of all broadband customers.

Trustpower was a Spark mobile reseller. The company’s mobile phone business barely registers in terms of market share and Mercury previously had no business in this space. The deal is unlikely to move the dial unless there is a significant change in the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) sector.

influential player

Despite its small size, Trustpower was influential. He pioneered the electricity and telecommunications cross-selling strategy. This meant that he had found a way to reduce customer churn. This is something that other retail broadband service providers continue to struggle with.

Vocus followed Trustpower’s lead when it acquired electricity retailer Switch Utilities Ltd in 2016. The move meant it could sell similar broadband electricity bundles. The company says it has proven popular with customers. Today the company is branded Vocus Energy, although this may change after the merger between Vocus-Orcon and 2degrees.

In September, the Commerce Commission announced the acquisition saying it believed the deal was “unlikely to significantly lessen competition in a New Zealand market”. The consideration is based on the position of the two companies on the electricity market. Official statement from the Commerce Commissionbarely mentions the telecommunications aspect of the acquisition.

Telcowatch: stable New Zealand mobile market

Telcowatch’s quarterly market share report shows there was little movement among New Zealand mobile operators in the first quarter of 2022.

Spark remains the largest mobile operator with a 36% market share under its own brand and another 7% for its discount subsidiary Skinny. The total is 43%.

Vodafone is second on 25% with 2 degrees bringing up the rear with a market share of 23%. Movement between brands was minimal in the quarter with a 2 degree decline of half percent market share.

Phone shipments fall 9% in the first quarter of 2022

IDC reports global phone shipments fell 8.9% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021.

Rival analytics company Counterpoint Research estimates Q1 2022 drop 7% to 328 million units. IDC estimates the total sale at 314 million units. This is behind IDC’s previous predictions.

There are a closer look at Q1 2022 phone shipments on the main blog site.

New Zealand signs Declaration for the Future of the Internet

New Zealand joined the United States, all European Union countries, Australia and 31 other countries in signing a broad agreement Declaration for the Future of the Internet.

It defines a set of priorities for an “open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet”. The document includes lofty ideas such as affordability, net neutrality and combating illegal content without hampering freedom of expression. There are few details on how the signatories will achieve this, but the concept looks good.

All of this comes at a time when countries like China and Russia are restricting the freedoms set out in the declaration. And significantly, it contradicts Ukrainian demands to cut Russia off from the wider internet.

Apologies to anyone upset that The Download newsletter didn’t appear last week. I caught Covid and was out of action for a few days.

In other news… To Reseller News Rob O’Neill covers research of Spark CCL Operation on New Zealand companies’ cloud investment plans. Half of companies surveyed by CCL say they intend to invest more in cloud services next year.

The Overseas Investment Office gave Amazon Web Services the green light to pursue plans for an AWS Region in New Zealand. The project will involve multiple data centers which Amazon says will involve spending NZ$7.5 billion.

Seeby Woodhouse’s
Travel Internet is working on a 100 gigabit network upgrade. It should be finished in November. A blog post on Voyager’s website says the upgrade means the ISP can offer customers 10G, L2 Ethernet and a nationwide backhaul.

2 degrees works with Microsoft and Umbrellar on its Cloud Navigator portal. The service provides customers with self-service control over Microsoft licensing and product management.

A report in the
the wall street journal said the NFT market “collapses”. Average NFT sales are down 92% from their September peak and the number of active wallets, which indicates people trading NFTs, is down 88%. “Collapse” might be too strong a word, but it seems like reality is creeping into the market.

Engineers at Cable Labs
demonstrated 8 Gbps downloads and 5 Gbps uploads over an HFC network using a DOCSIS 4.0 modem. In theory, the technology could be used to revive Vodafone’s UFC Broadband.

Peter Berghaus New Zealand (PB Traffic), uses Pollin8’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology and
to maintain road safety and optimize traffic flow at infrastructure development sites. The company uses technology to track its temporary traffic lights.

UFB’s final step secures West Coast network
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