Communications and Media
Historian Geoffrey Blainey once described how Australia's geographical isolation contributed to economic and social development by using the phrase ‘the tyranny of distance’.
Distance and isolation have played a similar role in New Zealand's development. The low ratio of people to distance has historically created numerous challenges, many of which have been answered with advances in telecommunications.
Our radio, television and telephone networks were originally constructed by government departments in the decades after the Second World War. In a prosperous time it was possible for New Zealand to emulate Britain’s famous BBC and create a network that was technically one of the best in the world.
Technology has changed rapidly since then, but the core of the original network was extremely robust and still supports communications until the present day.
The physical copper telephone network installed at great expense has proven to be competitive despite huge innovation in fibre optics and wireless technology.
Dedicated lines for a nationwide radio network and a line-of-sight UHF network for nationwide television both continue to meet the country's communications needs.
New ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband initiatives are underway. You can find out more about this key national infrastructure project at the Ministry of Economic Development
Currently New Zealand is reasonably well-served by its communications networks and providers. However, our geographical distance from many major world markets makes telecommunications vital for our future prosperity. No matter how good we are today, the motivation of the ‘tyranny of distance’ will continue to inspire us to be better.