NZ's future rests on World Cup tech

Summary:I really hope that New Zealand's technology is robust enough to cope with the influx of visitors that will stream in for the Rugby World Cup.

I really hope that New Zealand's technology is robust enough to cope with the influx of visitors that will stream in for the Rugby World Cup.

The New Zealand Herald has reported on the mammoth technical job of getting Auckland ready.

Most of the estimated 85,000 overseas visitors will be in Auckland for the tournament, and telcos expect that many of them will be using smartphones and consuming large chunks of mobile internet.

"They're going to be calling, TXTing, tweeting, Facebooking, uploading photos, to tell their friends around the world about New Zealand," said Vodafone's Matt East.

Indeed, as Paul Brislen, CEO of the Telecommunications Association notes:

"Travellers' expectations have changed so dramatically, and it's becoming essential to offer [good service]," he said.

"And the type of people we're going to see coming to the Rugby World Cup will be in that bracket that is more affluent than your usual backpacker, and will want to be able to take photos and footage and send it back home and show people what they're missing out on — and that's quite important for our tourism industry," Brislen said.

Fortunately, the telcos are busily expanding and upgrading networks around the rugby grounds, the CBD, the Viaduct "basin" and along Auckland's major roads.

Auckland Council is expanding its Wi-Fi network, and admits that the schedule is "tight" for it to be completed in time.

However, challenged as it is, New Zealand must remember that it is on display to the world. The country must look its best. And many visitors will have businesses that could invest in New Zealand and will take their impressions with them when they go home. How much lost investment might technical failure cost?

I remember the shame and ridicule that Auckland suffered during its power crisis of the late 1990s, when an elderly lines infrastructure failed and sent the CBD into darkness for weeks on end like some Third World hellhole. More recently, Telecom New Zealand has suffered major embarrassment with its 3G outages, and Vodafone hasn't been immune to its own faults.

By contrast, I also remember how well everything went when Sydney staged the Olympic Games way back in 2000.

Australia was rightfully proud of its massive achievement of a successful Games, and I want New Zealand to enjoy similar pride in itself after the Cup.

Topics: Data Centers, Networking, New Zealand, Telcos


Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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