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December 13, 2013

New Zealand's Internet Woes Likely to Continue

By Lavanya Rathnam
TMCnet Contributing Writer

The Internet today is used for everything, from reading a book to shopping and everything in between. With this widespread use of Internet comes the need for high-speed connections. When users stream videos online, watch movies, upload and download tons of data on social media and listen to music, it requires an enormous amount of bandwidth.

Unfortunately, the usage of Internet is not matched by the underlying infrastructure that enables it. Many countries in the world are struggling with slow Internet speeds because of the outdated copper wires. Though some countries are looking to move to fiber optics, it has not a universal move due to lack of political will and financial issues.

One such country that is facing problems with Internet speeds is New Zealand. According to a report released by Akamai (News - Alert) Technologies, the average speed in New Zealand is only 4.2 Mbps, which puts it behind all other developed countries in the world. South Korea topped the list with 13.3 Mbps, which is almost three times more than speed in New Zealand. Such low speeds have created frustration and anger among the population as it makes them that much less productive.

To counter this problem, the New Zealand entered into an agreement with Chorus, an Internet service provider, to lay fiber optic cables throughout the country. However, this $1.1 billion has run into rough weather because of financial problems at Chorus. These problems have cropped up as a result of the New Zealand government's move to reduce the monthly Internet charges from $37 to $28. Since Chorus is a near monopoly in New Zealand, this cut has affected its operations.

Both the company's executives as well as the New Zealand government are looking to work out a deal that will put the project back on track because there is too much at stake. If the deal falls through, then it is going to affect Chorus, the government and the people of New Zealand at large. 

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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