Saturday, 29 March 2008

Telecom deny competition forces price difference

Bad news this week for the many thousands of New Zealanders waiting to "get naked". I'm not referring to public streaking, but to the delay in the long-awaited "Naked DSL", which essentially means people can ditch their old fashioned home phoneline.

From May, Telecom is raising line rentals by just under 3%. The company's standard line rental in Christchurch and most of Wellington will rise to $37.05... while the rest of the country will see a rise to $44.85 a month. (Add another $2.70 a month for the wiring maintenance fee.)

The cheaper price just happens to be in the areas of Christchurch and Wellington which are served by Telecom's only genuine fixed-line competitor at the moment... cable company TelstraClear.

However, Telecom has denied the $7.80 a month difference in price is due to competition in those cities, but rather because of the cheaper cost of infrastructure because of the larger populations. Yeh right.

I barely use my home landline... it certainly doesn't justify the $45-odd a month I have to pay to keep the old phoneline, when all I really want is a fast broadband connection.
Unfortunately, the rollout of Naked DSL services around New Zealand is taking a lot longer than some expected. Ihug (now owned by Vodafone) have been trialling their "unbundling" by installing their boxes in 5 Auckland exchanges, but a more widespread nationwide rollout is some time off.

Slingshot and WorldxChange are both offering various forms of naked DSL, with broadband plans combined with VoIP technology and bundled phone call packages. The NZ Herald's tech writer Peter Griffin has done a good review of the current state of the market, and the benefits or otherwise...

* NZ Herald: The pros and cons of getting naked

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