Well the day has finally arrived!
After repeatedly goading the company assigned the installation of fibre to my house, last week they finally got their act together and came & did the external install – running fibre up to my house via the same poles used for power & phone. So after eight weeks of waiting since my property was scoped, they completed 3 hours of work, and this innocuous plastic box was attached to the side of my house.
Today a different tech came & did the interior install, and here I am. So where is that exactly?
Up until now, I have been using ADSL via copper wires… and while the download speed is bearable, the upload speed is appalling.
I tried upgrading to VDSL at one point, and I am too far from the nearest exchange for that technology to work. So after (im)patiently waiting until January 2016 when they finished the local infrastructure installation, and then two months of waiting for work to be done, my UFB is delivering these speeds:
Downloads: 179.92/7.58 = 23.7 times faster than ADSL
Uploads: 172.24/0.84 = 205 times faster than ADSL!
So the obvious immediate benefit is that consuming the internet (receiving data) is a LOT faster, but the more profound benefit is the upload speed. In the past, with that dreadful limited upload speed of ADSL, when I wanted to do a large upload (eg a 10GB+ HISSandaROAR library) I would have to drive into town & visit a friend with fibre, uploading it in an hour… Any number of times I attempted to upload via my ADSL and overnight it would fail, while also making my download speed close to unusable. But for video I would have to limit my uploads to medium rez 720p mp4.
The issue of the internet connection being assymetrical (fast down/slow up) is primarily based on market research – most people use the internet to consume or receive data, whether its watching/streaming Youtube or Vimeo or Netflix or Spotify or the web or whatever. So most ISPs set up their/your bandwidth for fast download and slow(er) upload. With ADSL there was no other option, but with UFB the deals on offer are based on your use. For example my ISP, Orcon offers:
option 1: FIBRE 100Mbps down/20Mbps up (unlimited data = NZ$100/month)
option 2: FIBRE 200Mbps down/20Mbps up (unlimited data = NZ$125/month)
option 3: FIBRE 200Mbps down/200Mbps up (unlimited data = NZ$145/month)
No prizes for guessing which option I went for… 200/200!
While I do not agree with much of what the current government in New Zealand is doing, UFB is one area where they have done the right thing. The tech who did my interior install is a kiwi who had moved to Australia ten years ago, but moved back recently to NZ due to the fraught infrastructure in Australia. And when I mentioned getting fibre on twitter, an American I.T. guy commented saying ‘it wont be fibre to your home, just to the node’. Again respect to NZ government as they have actually fully funded fibre to the home – that little glass wire snakes it way right into my studio, and only then translates to the gigabit ethernet I am accessing it via.
So for most people UFB means fast internet – no waiting for videos to buffer, or data heavy websites to load. And while thats also true for me, I see access to fast reliable upload speed as being far more profound. Lets face it, every one is a consumer but not everyone is a creator, producer, or maker. So for the consumers, upload is a minor advantage, whereas for creators it is empowering.
The obvious change is very welcome: I can achieve what I do more efficiently – uploading large resources is easy, uploading videos can now occur 1080p or even 4k and with far less compression. All of my work will look better, but the potential for new data-heavy high-resolution ideas to exist online is what intrigues me: the things I haven’t dreamed of yet!
For anyone who has been reading this blog since the early days might remember I went on a mental research trip, with the motive of attempting to work out why I had trouble finishing my own personal projects. For a reminder here are links to the articles:
How to Finish – intro
How to Finish – part 1: inspiration
How to Finish – part 2: development
How to Finish – part 3: completion
All of those articles were written back in 2009, well before I did the two Artist Residencies, so a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and I would like to think I am better at finishing projects now. But better is a relative term, I still do not think I am actually good at it, or anywhere near fulfilling my potential at completing and releasing my own projects. But I have slowly been working towards achieving that goal and UFB plays an important part.
I heard Brian Eno use a quote that made me smile: “Fruit ripens slowly, but drops suddenly” – I love this idea, that while a project might be years in the making, the release occurs suddenly. But more so, projects that have been in development (or stasis) may one day suddenly be able to be completed & released through the occurrence of new ideas or a change in situation or access to a new medium.
So this being my 50th year on the planet also coincides with a very strong desire to banish procrastination and execute ideas that have been quietly fermenting in my psyche. And not just any ideas, but ideas that I want to see exist in the world. Not coincidentally I came across a great book I highly reccomend to anyone who is also striving to execute their own work:
SHOW YOUR WORK by Austin Kleon, Amazon link here – I’m reading it using the Kindle app on my iPad, but I also ordered five physical copies to give to friends who I think also need to read it.
Of course, there are other aspects of sharing your work that may not be immediately apparent, so my HOW TO FINISH series is going to get a part 4 soon, stay tuned!
The revolution may well not be televised, but some bits of it are sure going up my UFB!
viva le revolution!