Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) has the potential to bring real social and economic benefits to New Zealand. Priority users for UFB are businesses, schools and health services, because these are the sectors in which the greatest productivity improvement is expected to occur. These groups will receive UFB by the end of 2015. The Government is also focussing on UFB in councils and government, as well as for tangata whenua.
To make the most of UFB, people need to know how it can be used, and what opportunities and benefits there are. Like social networking 20 years ago, some applications don’t exist and there are services we don’t know we need yet. Equally we can learn from countries like South Korea, the Scandinavian nations, Hong Kong and Germany, which all have quality broadband enabling them to make applications like video communications, mainstream. Leveraging the benefits of the Government’s investment will be key for all New Zealanders as the country competes globally in the 21st century.
In health, secure electronic patient records accessible to all authorised medical practitioners will be central to the use of UFB. School students will be able to log on simultaneously for testing and create rich media electronic portfolios. In business, UFB can lower the total cost of ownership of ICT and improve productivity by effectively reducing time and distance. A range of new applications and services will be possible in the home, including video-conferencing and IPTV. The UFB initiative has the potential to engage marae in educational and other activity to enrich people’s lives. For local and central Government, UFB offers ratepayers and voters highly interactive, content rich, citizens’ portals.