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Producers need high-speed broadband to compete

Media release – December 13, 2005

NZ screen producers need high-speed broadband to compete internationally


New Zealand needs to offer access to an advanced broadband network for film and television if it really wants to grow its screen production industry, the New Zealand Screen Council said today.

The government recently announced Telstra Clear will be the broadband supplier for the government’s high-speed Advanced Network.

``The initial brief for the network indicated that the creative industries would be able to access the Advanced Network,” NZ Screen Council executive director Tim Thorpe said.

``At this stage access is limited to the education and research sectors. We wish these sectors well, but look forward to access for screen production.’’

The government decision will allow TelstraClear to develop nationwide capacity.

``A lack of available high-speed broadband is inhibiting the growth of screen production in New Zealand,’’ Thorpe said.

``The demands of modern film-making mean the amount of traffic screen companies need to send has increased dramatically in the past few years.

``There is a lack of choice in the national telecommunications network market in New
Zealand. Aside from a few isolated islands of competition, Telecom has had the only national network on offer to date.

``Producers need to be able to increase traffic capacity on a moment's notice and to deliver content to unusual locations around the world. Other countries are able to provide this and New Zealand production and post-production companies are at an increasing disadvantage.’’

Film distributors, documentary channels and other customers are demanding much shorter turnaround times.

Instead of six months to film, edit and deliver a product, companies were expecting finished products in six weeks. Having to hand deliver tapes was no longer an option for many contracts, Thorpe said.

``New Zealand producers have lost business because of an inability to connect and the best alternative option has been the Advanced Network.

``At least, that is, until such time as a national carrier is able and willing to take on the screen industry's particular needs.’’

The Screen Council said it will initiate talks with TelstraClear and Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ) to discuss any possible benefits from the Advanced Network to the screen production sector.

REANNZ chairman Dr Jim Watson said TelstraClear was the preferred managed service provider for New Zealand’s first research and education advanced network. The network will be in service in the second half of 2006.

ENDS

Note: The New Zealand Screen Council is an industry body initially established with Government funding in 2004 and currently plays a vital role in fostering growth in the New Zealand film and tv industry community.

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