New Internet cable, but no free broadband for all New Zealanders


Work on a new trans-Tasman broadband cable is due to start in Raglan by March 29 after telecommunications companies Spark, Vodafone and Telstra jointly invested about $US70 million in the project.

About three kilometres of the cable would be buried under seabed from Ngarunui Beach in Raglan.

This first phase would take about a week to complete.

From there, a larger specialised ship would take over to connect the next section of cable across the Tasman and eventually to Australia.

I’m amazed we need another cable already. Didn’t Kim Dotcom gift one to New Zealand?  Read more »

Auckland Transport tries novel approach to making staff use public transport


Auckland Transport is in the process of signing up a lease for the old Vodafone building in the Viaduct. This is a big flash building and will be very nice offices for Auckland Transport, but sources inside AT are saying that the staff are not happy about the potential move.

Auckland Transport staff are like the rest of us: they like to drive. They like to drive to work because it is private, they can make phone calls, they can take diversions and they generally don’t have to slum it with the poor who are using public transport. Unfortunately for Auckland Transport staff, the brains trust at AT have decided that they should all be using public transport so AT will not be providing any car parks for staff.   Read more »

It took 3 years but we warned you

Three years ago we warned readers about a telco called Intagr8.

Unfortunately we were right and the company has now collapsed.

A controversial telecommunications company accused of misleading sales tactics has collapsed, leaving thousands of business customers around the country in the lurch.

Intagr8 Ltd was placed in liquidation on Thursday, the same day that Vodafone announced it was severing ties with the company. It is understood Vodafone is owed at least $1m.

Intagr8 offered bundled deals for phones and equipment and the collapse means around 2500 business customers around New Zealand are left with finance company contracts, but potentially no phone lines.

According to the Companies Office website, Damien Grant of Waterstone Insolvency was appointed liquidator on Thursday and his first report is due next week.

Grant said he would investigate why the business failed, but Intagr8’s owner Murray Taylor had blamed it on negative publicity.    Read more »

Journalist outraged after being hacked…cry me a river of tears

I said it was only a matter of time before someone hacked some journalists…and they have…and boy are they outraged about it.

When this journalist was hacked however the same ones who are aghast at this latest case were delving into all my hacked details as fast as they could.

Excuse me if I don’t just throw up a little bit in my mouth over the rank hypocrisy of this.

An investigative journalist is outraged her phone was hacked by telco giant Vodafone because of a damaging story.

The company’s today admitted a lone employee accessed call charge records and text messages in January 2011.  Read more »

Sue Chetwin’s Consumer rort

e22e23Consumer Magazine has been one of our flagship institutions for generations.  Need a new heat pump?  What about a fridge?  What is the best phone company?

Our parents as their parents before them turned to the independent and comprehensive advice found in Consumer Magazine.

In the past, at least, you wouldn’t have expected Consumer Magazine to favour one product or service over another based on how much that company paid Consumer in cold hard cash.

But that has changed.  Come with me as I take you on a tour of damning evidence.

Internet providers are doing a worse job with customers more likely to be dissatisfied, according to an annual survey by Consumer NZ.

It said satisfaction in their overall services had dropped 6 percentage points to 68 per cent over the past year, based on a poll of more than 10,000 of its members.

Vodafone and Spark had “a long way to go” before their customers felt satisfied with their services, it said.

Consumer NZ said the feedback showed an overall decline in perceptions of network reliability, but Spark spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said that did not marry with independent reports from the likes of Wellington testing company TrueNet which indicated Spark’s network was “stacking up really well”.

Spark would nevertheless study the report and was always looking to improve its services, she said.

Vodafone spokesman Brad Pogson said it had invested significantly in its fixed and mobile networks over the past year and in January TrueNet had said its cable customers had the best webpage download times.

2degrees was the “standout” mobile network provider, Consumer NZ said.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin confirmed the company had paid about $20,000 to become accredited as a “Consumer Trusted” business but said that could have “absolutely no influence whatsoever” on its survey findings.

Do you believe Sue?   Read more »

NZ is the only country where Internet access is getting more expensive

Spark, Vodafone and Callplus together represent 94 percent of the residential internet market and all have put up their prices for home internet packages.

Internet service providers blame the rises on the Commerce Commission’s recent draft decision which reduced the price companies pay for use of the copper wire network.

The charges relate to what Chorus (the wholesaler) charges internet service providers and telcos like Spark, Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot and Flip, for accessing their copper infrastructure which was deployed years ago by the Post Office. Those wires run down almost every street in the country and are the phone lines we have been using for decades.

Because it is a monopoly, the price that the wholesaler can charge is regulated by the Commerce Commission.

In 2011, when Telecom was split into a retail arm (Telecom) and a wholesale arm (Chorus), the Commission had to work out what Chorus’s wholesale services were worth, and what price they would charge internet service providers and telcos, including Telecom (now Spark) to use those services.

The price was originally set at about $45 per customer per month. Read more »

Mega’s little problem with a pesky thing called the law

Kim Dotcom is blowing hard once again on Twitter.


He is going on about ‘his’ MegaChat…funny thing is he was crying poverty and said he had given all his shares in Mega to his estranged missus…so quite how it is his is another matter entirely. Perhaps he has misled another court?

In any case his boastfulness ignores a problem.

Chris Keall at NBR explains.

Mega has said it will abide by the laws of every company it operates in. As a registered commercial entity it can barely take any other stance.

And when the FBI so successfully eavesdropped on the Skype chats and instant messages Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants while investigating Megaupload, it did so with a warrant issued by a judge.

What would Mega do if a law enforcement agency in a country its service operates in (that is, anywhere), hands it, or one of its users, a lawful warrant asking for encryption keys? In NZ, it has to live under the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act, aka TICS, which gives our government broad-brush powers to demand depcryption keys from a service provider when there is a (very broadly defined) threat to NZ’s national interest. This as-yet-untested legislation gives the ICT Minister discretion over who is defined as a service provider. Network operators like Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees are very clearly service providers. It’s more of a grey area for the likes of Microsoft Skype, Google Hangouts and now MegaChat – but I’m guessing the Crown won’t give MegaChat a free pass.   Read more »

Update on my cellphone coverage, solution found

On Saturday I wrote about the non-existent cellphone coverage I am experiencing and explored with my readers possible solutions.

My choices were:

  • Stay with Spark and get some sort of expensive booster thingy
  • Move to Vodafone, a company that I used to be with for 15 years and left because of poor service.
  • Move to 2Degrees that appeared on the surface to have better coverage, but using a company who had blacklisted me with their advertising.

The second and third options were as unpalatable as coughing a large amount of money for a repeater/booster thingy.

Still with 285,000 plus readers there was a marketing opportunity for an astute and fast moving company.

One company was fast moving.

Can you guess which?   Read more »

A mobile coverage technical dilemma

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 9.47.02 pm

I have a technical dilemma.

I have moved house, no you can’t know where I live…because the media will then know. I am not having my family hounded by them again.

However I have a problem.

Mobile coverage.

I am currently with Telecom…and live in a black spot. 200m in any direction and I have full coverage but have no bars at all in most of the house, but out by the fence one bar, or upstairs. This is unacceptable. The network coverage map shows no 4G coverage, little or no 3G coverage nor any other sort of coverage. It is next to useless.

Is there a solution? I’m thinking no, and so have some choices to make.   Read more »

Greedy ISPs refusing to pass on savings

Matthew Hooton and a collection of greedy ISPs mounted a campaign to lower the core costs of broadband…labelling the higher prices a “Copper Tax”.

Now that prices have dropped those same ISPs, who were saying that consumers would pay higher prices, aren’t passing on those savings to consumers.

The whole campaign was a fraud and now it is revealed as such.

Hamish Fletcher reports:

Internet companies will enjoy a reduction in some of their wholesale costs in December but aren’t committed to passing on these savings directly to consumers then.

Cuts to what infrastructure company Chorus charges internet retailers like Vodafone and Orcon for some wholesale copper-line broadband services are due to come into effect on December 1.

While two different price changes made by the Commerce Commission will come in on that day, Chorus has requested a wider review of both sets of prices from the regulator.

Although it had been aiming to have both reviews completed by the time the new pricing came into force, the commission on Thursday said it now planned to have a draft decision on both sets of prices by December and a final decision in April.

This means the price change will be in effect for at least four months before any possible change the commission could make in its final rulings.

But while internet providers will enjoy some lower wholesale costs over this time, none are committing themselves to lower prices for customers straight away in December.

Maybe Chorus should employ Hooton to put the acid back on the ISPs, what a surprise they aren’t passing on the savings.    Read more »