Editorial: Fibre endeavour praiseworthy
WARWICK RASMUSSEN DEPUTY EDITOR
OPINION: It was bold, it was ambitious, but ultimately it ended in failure.
Pacific Fibre's plan to come up with almost half a billion dollars to lay a communications cable across the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand to mainland United States was always going to be a tough ask.
Last week the high-profile businessmen behind it - Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall and Rod Drury - admitted defeat because they couldn't raise the money needed. While it may have been a bit of a pipe dream they should be commended for giving it a crack.
What they realised, ahead of most others, was the voracious appetite New Zealanders have for everything online. If you don't think that the online world of information, entertainment and commerce have twisted their way into day-to-day lives, think back just five years and assess the vast changes and leaps in technology that have been made.
In many ways the existing Southern Cross cable, half owned by Telecom, is our link to the outside world. While secure, if something were to happen to it, we would be left in a vulnerable position.
We are so reliant on our online world that any problem with the cable could have disastrous consequences. There needs to be more thought and more money spent on investigating other options to make our digital environment more secure and, secondly, to create a service that is bigger, better and less monopolistic.
It may even be a case where rival telcos, and outside backers, should pool their resources for the greater good. It may be too idealistic to think that way, but it would be a win-win situation for everyone, from the investors right down to the consumers.
The demand for bigger, faster broadband is only going to increase and it is a matter that needs some urgency around it.
The Pacific Fibre experiment showed that it is pricey and there is huge risk involved.
But that's nothing compared to what would happen if we're disconnected from the world and left behind.
ONE MORE THING...
The Olympic Games offer a bit of everything. The ecstatic highs of victory and the crushing defeats etched on the faces of athletes. Then there's the sublime and ridiculous categories. We saw the former with Usain Bolt's sprinting and our own Nick Willis making tomorrow's 1500m final. The ridiculous - and downright embarrassing - came when a registration blunder had kept our gold medal hopeful, Valerie Adams, off the starting list. Thankfully, that was resolved swiftly, but not before a few nervous moments for our reigning Olympic champion.
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