NZ Smashes TUANZ Broadband Goal

November 22, 2019

A great night tonight for the second time in a week. Crown Infrastructure Partners invited me to a fun party to celebrate completion of phase one of the Ultrafast Broadband project. There were lots of people there with plenty of grey hair - I felt quite at home.

 

But the highlight to me was hearing CIP CEO Graham Mitchell say that NZ is now number 8 in the OECD for fibre optic coverage. Thats a massive, massive deal - as endorsed tonight by former Ministers Steven Joyce and Amy Adams.

 

Around 2005 when I was CEO of TUANZ, NZ ranked 22nd equal out of (then) 23 OECD members for a basket of telecommunications measures. We were on the bottom alongside Mexico. Telecom NZ controlled our monopolist industry, and the Mexican PM owned their telco! No wonder.

 

So the Board of TUANZ, led by Graeme Osborne, got together in a winery in Hawkes Bay for a day's strategy meeting. We adopted the slogan "Targeting the Top Ten in the OECD for Communications Technology." It was an aspirational goal - I'm not sure whether anyone honestly believed it was attainable.

 

But here we are - about 14 years later we have surpassed it. Thats one of the reasons why NZ's technology sector is racing ahead in leaps and bounds, and why our whole economy is so strong. Compared to Australia for example, we are light years ahead -  they are number 29 in the expanded OECD for fibre, down there with Kosovo.

 

So take a bow, TUANZ Board of 2005-ish. Unfortunately the TUANZ records were apparently taken off line a few years ago so I dont have the full list. But if you know some of the visionary old hands - Graeme Osborne, Judy Speight, John Crisp, Merv Altments, Leo Neal, Kevin Drinkwater, Doug Wilson etc - please pass this on. Not forgetting the late Chris O'Connell too. An ambitious goal come to fruition and quite a legacy.

 

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