The new connectivity norm for NZ business

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Internet speeds in New Zealand homes are better than they have ever been. With our love of all things Netflix, they need to be.

While we’ve rushed to adopt better connections in our homes, our workplaces have lagged behind. But they needn’t do so.

With more and more of the apps we use at work being web-based Software as a Service (SaaS), or infrastructure hosted in a public cloud provider, our workplace connectivity needs have changed as much as our home needs.

The good thing is that New Zealand has leaped ahead of where we were five years ago, and we now have the infrastructure in place to support our unfettered demand for access to easy to use online services.

There are three key areas of investment that have been made in networks that result in the changes we now see in the market.

Firstly, the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout invested in providing fibre to a lot of our cities and towns. The UFB rollout has been extended to include more locations, recognising the reliance our economy will have on access to digital services.

We have made a generational investment to putting glass (fibre optic cables) in the group to replace our reliance on degrading copper. The equipment on either end of the fibre will continue to be upgraded over time, with the ability to go to 100x or 1000x the speeds available today.

Secondly, there are now three high capacity submarine cables linking New Zealand to the rest of the world.

With much of the data we save on cloud services stored in Australia, this is a must as it provides redundancy in case of a fault. In addition, it helps to keep prices competitive.

You may remember some years ago Xero founder Rod Drury and Trademe founder Sam Morgan attempted to get an alternative to the only game in town (the Southern Cross Cable) in place.

While that initiative ultimately wasn’t successful, the intent and forethought was spot on.

Finally, our mobile networks have improved no end. 4G has rolled out through much of the country, speeds have increased and mobile data prices have come down.

This is important as we do much of our work while mobile, and have a growing need to remain connected to use tools that drive business efficiency and stay in communications with the rest of our team.

The government is also investing in the Mobile blackspots Fund to reduce the areas we can’t connect.

While that is all very interesting, what matters is that the flow-on effects to the business market should be the same as the residential market. You should get better speeds, lower prices and an improved service all around.

However, the business market is a high-value market and there is motivation to keep margins at a “healthy” level and services sticky. One alternative is to look for an SD-WAN service.

This uses newer technology to create a software defined (SD) network.

What this means is that it isn’t tied to any network provider and can use a suitable quality Internet connection.

The feedback we’ve had on our SD-WAN service is that businesses are looking for ways to get more flexibility and transparency with their networks, which we think supports the new ways New Zealand businesses are connecting to apps.

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Jeremy Nees
Jeremy Nees
Jeremy Nees is the Chief Product & Technology Officer for The Instillery. He can be reached at contact@theinstillery.com.

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