Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The Internet in New Zealand
The bigger challenges? The drivers for Internet - i.e. what gets people using data - are troublesome in New Zealand. In terms of legal content, your options are... well... Sky and Quickflix. Sky has pretty much sewn up media rights here. It still irks me that they got the rights to the Olympics though I have to say, the coverage on Prime has been pretty damn good (with the notable exception of the opening ceremony - which I just couldn't watch. WAY too much advertising). What really had me upset was the fact that 3 News had to blur out a screen showing the opening ceremony in the background of one of their stories.
To put this into context, I could pay another $10 / month for 50GB. I have used up 10GB in the last 2 weeks. It's just not worth $10 / month for data I can't really use.
Quickflix is one of many services offering anti-features. i.e. what really frustrates me about the recording industry is that instead of using technology to add value, they do their very best to take value away under the term DRM (Digital Restrictions Management or, less accurately, Digital Rights Management). Buttons.
And of course, they don't support Linux or other Free (Libre) operating systems. Want to take advantage of their services? Make sure you have Windows or Mac OSX.
The cable has to be profitable... If people aren't using data, the cable is effectively pointless.
But what does this all mean? Pacific Fibre were attempting to add a second cable from New Zealand to the rest of the world. Currently we have 1 cable (I don't think that's technically true but it's true that any lines out of New Zealand are owned by one entity - of which Telecom own a majourity holding) out of the country. It's got huge capacity - our needs are easily served.
The problem isn't technical. Instead, the problem is a social one. The cost of our Internet is a symptom of the fact that there's absolutely no competition. Add to that the regulatory holiday that the government (why the hell did all of those people vote National?!?) gave to Telecom and we're in an extremely bad position.
So the government's 1.5 billion ultrafast broadband project is very likely pointless as well. It's a way to get Sky content and not much else. It's a far cry from the sort of content and services that we should be expecting with that sort of speed. Could we be seeing less tweets as the price of data via the Internet becomes more and more prohibitive? The question is, is the National government going to see this as a failing of the project and make moves to rectify the situation?