Internet soccer shows the power of broadband

Internet TV has finally arrived in New Zealand, and with it, a chance to show what UFB can do.

A company called Coliseum has won the rights to broadcast English Premiere League soccer in New Zealand, beating Sky TV.

With many of the 50 percent or so Kiwi homes that receive Sky suddenly noticing that they can no longer subscribe to English soccer, they and others will be forced to sit up and take notice of what the internet can now deliver.

We have seen nothing in the way of campaigns from the government to promote its NZ$1.5 billion Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) investment.

The government is happy to tell us to save energy and not to drink and drive, and so on, but it seems unwilling to chip in a few million dollars to help a flagship policy of the prime minister receive public acceptance.

We often hear that there is little demand for UFB, with only a tiny percentage subscribing when it becomes available.

But every so often will come a story of how UFB is being pioneered by the business community.

One use is faster uploading and downloading of files for those enterprises using cloud-based software. Another firm found that UFB made it easier to share software with an overseas client, which helped it win business.

Certainly, we need more tales like this to spread the message about UFB.

It's a poor show that the prime minister has to resort to the Coliseum internet soccer deal to tout the benefits of UFB, but I suppose it was John Key's way of connecting with the wider public.

The benefits of UFB are there, but you have to look for them.

The farmers can see them, which is why they want 4G everywhere — so they have UFB-type speeds in the remotest of paddocks, especially if they need to record their livestock electronically, use accounting software, and so on.

And then you read of a guy who has made more than US$400,000 from his online web developer courses. Thus, you can see the potential to make money from developing your own online training courses, or the potential to use online courses within your organisation instead of sending your staff back out to school.

CIOs and IT managers, no doubt, will also be aware of the benefits of UFB, but they have to convince those who have a tight grip on the purse strings.

Sadly though, the "benefit" of broadband to many Kiwis comes down to it being a tool to broadcast soccer.

Still, if it shows the power of broadband to the masses, including employers, and is something that might spark people's imaginations about its capabilities, and help IT bosses explain the potential business benefits, then last week's Coliseum deal can only be a good thing.

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