Wednesday, 31 May 2006

NZ Broadband to get worse before it gets better

The wait for "Cheaper, Faster Broadband" could still be some way off for Kiwi web surfers.

The Labour-led New Zealand Government recently took the heavy handed step of regulating private company Telecom, "unbundling the local loop" and removing constraints on the UBS broadband service resold by local Internet Service Providers.

While the question remains whether any Government should be involved in the affairs of private business, at least it should eventually lead to more choice, and cheaper, better quality telecommunications services for New Zealand consumers.

The Government's full announcement could take 12-18 months to be turned into actual legislation (Western Governments like to waste their time ;-), although commentators are tipping the "Faster, Cheaper Broadband" component to be on the market by October... This should translate to Telecom and its competitors being able to offer broadband with download speeds of up to 24MB and upload of up to 1MB).

(Although you never know with Telecom... The company recently defended their TV marketing, saying the use of the phrase "Faster, Cheaper Broadband" clearly meant either Faster or Cheaper Broadband... but not necessarily both at the same time! ;-)

However, it seems many local users will penalised while they're waiting for that to arrive... Ihug have announced they'll be counting customers upload data against their monthly data allowance. Previously, they were the only local provider to provide free uploads, only counting downloads.

Ihug say the change is needed, because Telecom are now enforcing customer data limits. Their move follows the launch of the 3.5 Mbps plans earlier this year... customers moving from Ihug's old 2MBps bliink plans had their peak data allowance slashed in half.

The best spinoff from the whole regulation decision hasn't really been covered in the mainstream media... the dodgy sounding "Naked DSL". It's the part I have to admit I'm most looking forward to (although it's likely to be over a year away from reality).

Basically it means you'll no longer have to pay Telecom (or anyone else for that matter) to rent a home landline, when all you want is broadband internet access. I had to connect to Telecom when I moved house recently, and have to pay them $42.20 a month for the privilege of having a home phoneline which I never use, just because I want to connect to the internet.

I have 200 free minutes in the evenings and weekends through my work cellphone plan which does me just fine for my personal phone calls. I wouldn't even have a clue what my landline phone number is, so friends and family won't be inconvenienced when I can finally ditch the Telecom line, as I've never managed to give it out!

* NZ Herald: Ihug counts uploads
* Ihug: Changes to Broadband Plans
* NZ Government: Government moves fast to improve Broadband

Posted in |