WhaleTech: When will uncapped Broadband come to NZ?


The Telegraph reports

The UK’s most popular broadband now comes without any usage limits, and BT claims it is also free from traffic management. Packages start from £16 [NZD 30] a month for 16Mbps copper broadband, rising to £23 [NZD 43] for 38Mbps Infinity or £26[NZD 48]  for 76Mbps Infinity.*  

Previously, the cheapest BT option for unlimited broadband cost £26 [NZD 48] per month.

… “BT’s decision to make all their unlimited packages ‘truly unlimited’ – ie free from any download limits, fair usage policy or traffic management – is pivotal for the broadband industry. O2, Sky and most recently Plusnet all have ‘truly unlimited’ broadband deals already, but BT is the biggest broadband provider in the UK in terms of market share and where they lead, others follow.”

All the major providers have increasingly engaged in a war of words over what ‘unlimited’ and ‘traffic management’ mean.

“Customers are now much more aware of the terms of their broadband service, and are questioning why limits are in place,” said Baliszewski. Download limits and fair usage policies, etc, are becoming unpopular, especially as household data consumption is growing all the time. A truly unlimited broadband package is the only option for customers who want to fully enjoy the wide variety of content available to them over the internet.”

As you can see, the amount paid in the UK is now related to the bandwidth you want to access, and not the amount of data you transfer over it.

With the increase of on-demand movies, video and TV content, it does indeed make sense to remove data caps altogether.

In New Zealand, Unlimited Internet access has been tried before, starting with the (then) infamous IHUG offering unlimited dial-up packages.  But as ISPs have offered “unlimited” over the years, there have always been traffic management and “fair use” provisions to ensure the 0.5% of customers savvy enough to create more than 50% of the load could be brought into line.

Over the last 12 months, New Zealand broadband allowances have been generously doubled by the major players, but we are still paying over and above what other countries are shelling out for what is essentially a much better service.  Our global remoteness and low-density population can only account for some of it.

Unlimited Broadband will come to New Zealand eventually, but don’t expect it any time soon.



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  • coventry

    Sadly I can’t see it ever happening in NZ. We used to have all of the ISP’s in NZ locally peered, but then Xtra & TCL walked away from the table – so that ended ‘free’ local/domestic traffic. If there was a viable alternative to the SXC cable, we might see better data-caps, but until that happens – bend over, lube up & get ready for a reaming.

  • Sym Gardiner

    Except for Telstraclear who have not moved their cable customers for ages. Which is particularly annoying as it is really fast!

  • RightNow

    The Pacific Fibre venture failed because there simply isn’t a sound business case for a second cable. The Southern Cross Cable still has extra capacity, e.g. by splitting light frequencies. They can lower costs to fend off competition.
    So yes, we are still paying over and above what other countries are shelling out for what is essentially a much better service.
    But actually our global remoteness and low-density population can account for almost all of it.
    The only other factor is a reluctance for someone to pay half a billion up front with no hope of recouping their investment. Sounds like a job for government (I say that sarcastically, but sadly a left coalition would probably do it).

    • coventry

      Payback on a 2nd cable is approx 10 years – probably falls outside the investment parameters of the NZ Super Fund.

      And yes, newer technologies have allowed SXC to extend the life & capacity of the existing glass.

  • cows4me

    Capitalism and advancing technology will eventually win the day.

    • Mr_Blobby

      TeleCon Monopoly

  • Bovver

    I’m on UFB with Orcon, no cap’s unlimited downloads, $138 per month, so it’s already here.

    • Alice Nikenbocker

      Sure it is. If you pay through the teeth.
      “£23 [NZD 43] for 38Mbps Infinity or £26[NZD 48] for 76Mbps Infinity.”

      • Bovver

        $138 per month is hardly paying through the teeth.

        • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

          You like like a rich prick, primed for Norman’s “Green Tech Eco Tax” in 2014…..

          • Bovver

            Wow, internet tough guy, be still my beating heart. No I’m on an average wage.

          • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

            Now that Sheep Shearer has been confirmed as the leader of the Labour party he will be bringing UFB to everywhere for $5 a month….

          • Pissedoffyouth

            Norman will make sure ifs eco-fibre though.

            Bran biscuit circutry

          • Alice Nikenbocker

            Single too I assume.

    • Simian

      I am on this as well but there is a fair use policy, have only just gone on it so shall see what happens

      • Bovver

        I’m downloading in excess or 100 gig a month atm, maybe by 2018 when the rest of New Zealand is connected it might be different.

  • Jimmie

    Well we have a 30Gig limit on our broadband and the most we ever use is approx 15-20/month so in a sense it is fairly unlimited. However I guess for high usage guys its must be frustrating.

    NZ simply doesn’t have enough people to help lower the cost per head. Throw in our geography and its always gona be a problem.

    Maybe we need a population of around 8-10 million and you would see some cost efficiencies kicking in.

  • Without all the liberials going off the rockers saying think of the kids , whats the point in connecting all the schools up with UFB first ? I persoanlly would focus ion connecting major urban centres and CBD’s first , all i used a computer for at school was word processing and making webpages and for a bit of research , do we really need to focus on connecting all these rural school so kids can use blistering fast internet between 9am and 3pm for half the year .Also i blame telecom for holding this country back , routing everyday new zealanders for years , also the NZ public are pretty ignorant and got use to having overpriced broadband With shit connection speeds and laughable datacaps. I remember when telecom lost 2 billion off their share price in a single day as the government at the time got sick of broken commitments. 2 billion would have been more then enough to build a second cable , shows that their greed has destroyed new zeland having firstworld broadband.

    • Alice Nikenbocker

      “all i used a computer for at school”.

      I’ma stop you right there and say A LOT has changed in the last decade alone, internet for schools is hella important for those in rural areas.

    • cows4me

      “do we really need to focus on connecting all these rural school so kids can use blistering fast Internet” . Gee thanks Maria . Many rural schools struggle not only to hire staff but also with courses they can offer pupils. Rural children trying to compete with town schools are fighting a losing battle. Not only do most teachers prefer to live in the big cities, ( God knows why ) so specialised subjects simply can’t be taught. Fast Internet evens the score. My daughter uses fast Internet at her school, this has allowed her to take subjects that would only be on offer at larger centers

  • there are a few ISPs offering ‘unlimited’ internet again, for around $NZ100 including the phone line rental. In the UK the cheapest package is ~NZ$50 including the phone line. The UK has the major advantage of population density so delivering ADSL to 1M people costs a lot less than it does in NZ. They also have the advantage of not needing a 20,000km undersea cable through which all traffic is sent. Its only a short hop to France and the Netherlands where a hell of a lot of bandwidth gets exchanged – this probably reduces the need for traffic managing ‘torrents’ and the like. Then there is also the fact produce a lot of content within the country (e.g. BBC) so not all the data has to exit the country. I don’t think we need ‘unlimited’ internet here – 50GB plans are probably more than most users here could consume right now and Telecom offers one for around $85.

    • 50gb ha! I chew through 10 times that a month no worries. You need to open your eyes to the world of HD! One movie runs 25gb these days.

      All content we consume will provided via the Internet before to long. Personally I think it will be mobile 4g broadband that will pull the wired boys into line.

      • streaming 25GB movies wouldnt be an issue if there was a local service and the traffic could be zero rated. it makes no sense for 500,000 users to each download their own copy of a movie from the US or EU. Of course a local service would come at a cost, and i wonder if anyone will pay it – so many seem to feel they have the ‘right’ to download anything for free these days. If you set aside downloading 25GB movies/tv/music, how much of that 50GB are you likely to use in a month?

        • A fair bit. Don’t really watch tv anymore. Just download and watch what I want.

          The movie/music/tv industry need to change their model. The cat is out of the bag on this one as the alternative is so much less convenient. It s already happening in the US with subscription services. Heard of Spotify? Once these guys realise no one is paying $30 for their stinking DVD anymore things will change and quickly I would suspect. Al we need to do is stop using the outdated rubbish they are feeding us for exorbident costs .

      • Mr_Blobby

        No really the brorocracy want compensation for 4g

  • peterwn

    IMO it should be metered just like electricity. Uncapped broadband means the smaller users subsidise the larger users. Similarly people living on their own end up subsidising a flat full of students or neighbours who share wi-fi. And no ‘plans’ – tou should not need to pay more per MB for over-use as for your basic use.

    • Mr_Blobby

      You must work for the Government, stupid Muppet.

  • Mr_V4

    But weren’t you ridiculing Kim Dotcoms idea to do something about the situation the other day?