Happy New Year to all our friends and readers.
I spent Christmas with family in NoumÃ©a, New Caledonia.
As always I caught up with old friends and business contacts there. The Telecom game is still a total monopoly in New Caledonia. L’Office des Postes et TÃ©lÃ©communications reigns supreme and uncontested from mail to phone to internet. I can’t blame my OPT friends and contacts for that as it’s a political decision; they are just doing their job.
One interesting recent change was the shut-down of analogue TV broadcasts ( well ahead of their bigger neighbours). The two local analogue TV channels have been replaced by eight free-to-air digital channels. These are broadcast terrestrially but there is also the CANL + dth SAT Pay TV service with some 50 channels.
FTTH in New Caledonia is still in its infancy. A trial was done into a suburb of NoumÃ©a using Alcatel-Lucent GPON gear. This was totally successful, but nothing further seems to be planned for the moment. They have appointed a “Fast and Ultra-fast” broadband manager who I’m sure will update me on future moves.
On Boxing day a quick 2 hours flight on Qantas from NoumÃ©a to Brisbane and then down to my home at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast.
Last night we celebrated the New Year with many friends and family here.
Of course Queensland is flooded in many parts, fortunately my house is high and dry.
I reported in the past how so many friends here in Australia don’t understand the NBN (National Broadband Network) project and just keep chanting that it’s a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.
The same old arguments: why can’t satellite and wireless do the job?
Every time I try to explain about the cost, risk and latency of SAT, and the very finite spectrum (and bandwidth) available for wireless services.
They nod and say “oh we didn’t appreciate those issues”. I just wish the Government (particularly the Coalition opposition) and the man in the street had been taught the basics about a national fibre network.
It’s not a question of “if”, but a question of “when” and “how”. The copper telephone network has totally run out of steam, and only a fibre network will give us at least another 100 years of adequate bandwidth as the demand inevitably increases.
Telstra in Australia will be offering a very interesting home automation package over the new NBN. This is one of the myriad new applications that will provide services as the fibre network kicks in.
News today tells us that China will ban non-Government approved VOIP services which inevitably include Skype and many others (Yahoo IM etc).
This follows the decision by Google to quit China after pressure from the Chinese Government to bow to their demands was refused.
When will the Chinese Government realise that you cannot totally stifle free speech and that people just won’t put up with meddling and interference into their normal, legal, everyday affairs? I have many Chinese-born friends in several countries, including China itself. I have visited them several times. We rarely discuss politics, we don’t represent any threat to the regime in China.
Let’s hope that 2011 is a quiet, peaceful and friendly year for us all.