I've just finished talking to a sales representative from Vodaphone.
Every couple of months someone comes to the door or rings up saying they can save us money on our phone and Internet connection.
I have a 256k connection. Sure it's horribly slow, but it's tolerable and to my way of thinking, it's a hell of a lot better than having to worry about how much data I've gone through. I really don't see the point of having to worry about the data you're downloading and then being throttled down to dial up speed.
So I always ask, "Can you offer me an assured speed without the threat of throttling or having to pay more money for $50 or less a month?".
The answer is ALWAYS "no".
I'm abrupt. I make absolutely no apologies for this.
This brings up a great big giant hole in the New Zealand market around the Internet. ISP's here seem to be obsessed with speed. I like speed. I like not having to stress about data even better. I just want to use the Internet.
Add to this the whole thing around the $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband plan that National promised during the last election. This seems to have come with a 10 year regulatory holiday. But given that the current focus is solely on speed rather than reliability, is the situation going to improve at all? Are the ISP's going to continue to try to tell us exactly what we want or are they going to start to cater for different people and different needs?
I went to a computer shop and asked for a particular model of hard drive. They told me (despite what was listed on their webpage) that they didn't have any and I didn't want THAT hard drive - I wanted some other hard drive. They were failing to see that I had completely different concerns - I wanted a slower, low power hard drive as the performance hit was negligible but the benefits of running cooler resulted in a longer lasting, more reliable hard drive.
I don't shop there anymore.
An Internet connection isn't all that different. I have various sales people trying to tell me I want X connection for Y amount (often more than I'm paying now for effectively more stress). The difference is that ALL of the vendors do the same thing. It's a bit like trying to buy a fork when everyone's only willing to sell you a spoon (Isn't it ironic?). And not only will they not sell you a fork, but they'll try to convince you a spoon is so much better.
Perhaps ISP's need to look at other industries. I'm not a big fan of milk chocolate but then, I have options. There's the inappropriately named white chocolate or, my favourite, dark chocolate (though Cadbury don't have a decent dark chocolate and easter products seldom come in dark varieties - yet alone finding them on the shelves of supermarkets. Go Whittakers!).
Or shoes... available only in a single style and colour. The only thing you can choose is the size.
So the question is, how is it that Internet uptake in this country so high when the customer doesn't seem to be a concern? If they were, options would be offered. Surely we deserve better.