Monday, September 19, 2005

Broadband YES! But at a cost!

This time a shorter post but nonetheless something which is close to my heart - the price of broadband in New Zealand.

It was more of an accident that I stumbled across the fact that Question Time in Parliament is available as streaming video on the TVNZ website. For those who are interested and like me are obsessed with politics this is a great opportunity to watch what the House of Representatives is up to. Unfortunately as a part-time student my pockets are not deep and unlike others I sometimes cannot afford to fork out more than $60 for a 10gb plan.

Now that the election is over I hope that Labour (as soon as it gets a working government together) will make sure of one of its election promises. The New Zealand Herald reported on the 12th September, 5 days before the election, that Labour aims for cheaper and fast internet. I especially liked the idea of 1 dollar-a-day access. Its a step into the right direction. As Telecom itself reported only 15% of new broadband connections come through wholesalers. Sure a sign of a monopoly which does not create an open and free market. That this policy was coming from a Labour party made me stand up even more. Labour says "free the market up"? The article compares the New Zealand market to the Australian one where recent changes in broadband wholeselling made broadband more affordable.

Telecom of course is playing down Labour's plans as reported in the New Zealand Herald the next day. "Kiwi share" my a.. Of course wholesalers like Slingshot and Orcon loved the idea. Telecom has two hurdles to face before Labour would move. First it has to sign up 250,000 new broadband users by the end of 2005 which as it looks is no problem at all. But the other hurdle is that at least a third of those connections has to come from wholesalers, which Telecom most likely is not to achieve. Only a healthy competition in the broadband sector would bring prices down and give a better option of plans. At the moment the broadband offering in New Zealand is pathetic at best.

So I hope that the next government is moving fast in providing policies as to assure that New Zealand is not falling behind in broadband internet uptake. Not only this course has shown me how digitalised we have become as a society. Digital Photography, Digital Film, Streaming Video and Radio etc. are fantastic tools for the consumer but I'm not quite sure how you see it but I would like to share large photos, files etc with others without having to post them on a website. But as soon as I hit my data limit I get pushed back to dial-up speed, which I thought I have outgrown, and e-mails take far too long to be sent or received. I sometimes believe that the digital world gives us fast and slick racing cars to drive but New Zealand only provides the good roads to those who can afford it and the rest drives in pedestrian speeds on metal roads.

Give me cheap and fast internet without data limit!! Now!!


At 12:28 AM, Blogger David K said...

10gb plan? you mean 2mb and 10gb data allowance each month right ?

I always think it very stupid how they provide you faster internet and then put a data allowance each month. The reason people want speed is for downloading things (I don't think people are that desperate to check their email or browse web pages in 2mb speed.)
The more speed we have the more things we download and thats a fact. Then why put a data restriction?
Compared to many other countries NZ's net technology is moving ruther slowly. I wonder when will I be able to see unlimited cable internet connection....

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Childfree! It could have been so simple! said...

That is copied from the Xtra website:
Xtra Broadband
$69.95 per month
Download speed: maximum 2Mbps
Upload speed: maximum 128Kbps

You confirmed my point. They give us faster speeds but who really cares how many miliseconds you save by browsing TradeMe. But what I want is to listen to my favourite Online radiostation while surfing and being able to download the odd videoclip or movietrailer in high resolution all at the beginning of the month because come the 15th the allowance is gone and speed is reduced to 56k.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Childfree! It could have been so simple! said...

There was a follow-up article in todays New Zealand Herald about Labour's plans for broadband wholeselling.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger mags said...

is there any other way of accessing question time? is there a text format to view it in?

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Childfree! It could have been so simple! said...

Hi mags,

Yes the transcripts are available from the clerk of parliament


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