New Zealand ISP Bigpipe has created an app that gives users a never-before-seen level of control over their internet connections. Many ISPs provide apps for their customers, but the Bigpipe App’s killer feature is the ability for users to prioritise their internet connections for different modes.
The Bigpipe App has a “Mode Selector” feature that allows customers to view what’s happening on their network and decide what kind of traffic gets priority over their Bigpipe connection.
For instance, if a user wants to watch streaming video, a single tap using the Mode Selector will tell their Bigpipe connection to give priority to streaming video traffic - meaning faster, higher quality streams and less buffering. Users can choose between Streaming, Browsing, Downloading, Communication, and Gaming modes. The Mode Selector shows what sort of traffic is being used at any given time, and mode changes take effect within seconds.
“We love trying out new things at Bigpipe. We were the first ISP in the world to have an exclusively digital service model - and our customers love it.” says Head of Bigpipe, Oliver Smith. “And now we’re the first ISP in the world to truly put control of the connection into our customers hands. We think our customers will love this too.”
The Bigpipe App is particularly useful to users on connections that are used for many different things at once, like in a family or flatting situation. At any given time, a single connection might be downloading an update for a computer, downloading a film from iTunes, have someone talking to friends on Skype, streaming something from Lightbox, and gaming on Xbox Live.
All this activity crowds the internet connection, making everything run more slowly. The app offers a way around this problem, speeding up a particular activity of the account holder’s choice.
“A good way to look at it is in terms of pipes,” says Smith. “We love to provide the biggest pipe possible for our customers, but often they are limited simply by what’s available in their area, and even if UFB is available, it can sometimes take months to get installed. If your pipe is a bit smaller than you’d like, as it very often is for ADSL customers, you’ll often find it congested when you try and do too much. The Bigpipe app opens up a virtual pipe, devoting 90 percent of a user’s internet connection to data of a particular type.”
The app will make a particular difference to the experience on copper connections, which make up over half of Bigpipe’s customers, and around 70 percent of NZ broadband connections, but it can also be useful for those with UFB when they like to do a lot with their broadband.
Smith says that the app is about offering customers a choice in how they use their internet connections, rather than having their ISP decide for them.
“Many ISPs throttle or shape traffic to give what they think is a better experience, but why should the ISP get to choose what people get to do on their internet connections?”
“What we’re offering is a way for customers to decide what sort of traffic is important to them on their own connection, and prioritise accordingly. It’s up to them,” Smith says. “It’s internet the way it should be.”
The Bigpipe App also features push notifications for users to alert them when planned maintenance is due, or if an outage is occurring.
“Bigpipe’s always gone to extra effort to let our customers know what’s happening with their connections, and the app offers a convenient way to be alerted if something is coming up, or if there’s a problem,” Smith says.
Additionally, the app has many more “standard” features, including the ability to check billing status, refer friends to Bigpipe, or get help and support. Many more features are planned for the Bigpipe App and development will be prioritised depending on user feedback.
The Bigpipe app is now available for download in the Apple Store (for iPhones and iPads) and the Google Play Store (for Android devices.) Anyone can download the app, but it will only work if users have a Bigpipe connection.