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  Reply # 74741 14-Jun-2007 23:29 Send private message

Foreigner's opinion about CafeNET and Telecom charging [like a wounded bull - costing arm and leg].  Zenbu aims to fix the problem.  http://stuart.amanzi.co.nz/2007/05/16/foreigners-view-on-internet-access-in-nz/   

<<He doesn’t have such good praise for the internet access here though, mentioning his bad experience with wireless access in Christchurch:

This card has only one purpose in life — to reveal a string of hex digits — and it cannot even manage to do that.

Wellington actually has really good wireless access as we’ve got a choice between CityLink’s CafeNet, or Telecom’s wireless hotspots. It’s not cheap though and because of this I only ever use it for occasional access.


He also comments on the number of internet cafes prevalent here, which I find interesting too. I often see internet cafes full as I walk past them in town and there’s always an interesting mix of people in them, from students and backpackers to adults and senior citizens. Does this mean broadband pricing is still too steep in NZ that people still are required to pop down to their local internet cafe to check their email. I know several people who are still on dial-up plans because they can’t afford broadband, which is frustrating because just a few years ago NZ was among the world leaders in internet penetration in homes.>>


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Reply # 74744 14-Jun-2007 23:38 Send private message







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Reply # 74746 15-Jun-2007 00:09 Send private message

A hex on Wi-Fi access tokens in Christchurch.  They smudge and some letters and numbers are confusing.  <<We debated whether a digit was a 5 or an S, and whether another was an S or a 3, and in the end I had to try about a half-dozen variations.
They had that access point locked down pretty well, too. The code was a dozen hex digits, and I felt like I was burgling Fort Knox.>>   http://blog.jonudell.net/2007/05/14/internet-access-adventures-in-new-zealands-south-island/

When designing vouchers, it's best to eliminate letters and numbers which can be easily confused [there are plenty of other letters, numbers and combinations which can be used].   Access codes need to be clear.   Things like that might seem trivial in  the bright light of day, but they obviously frustrated that user significantly.  

Cerfing in cyberspace should be easy and cheap, not difficult, unpleasant and expensive.   The information superhighway, a decade later, is still a muddy cattle track in NZ.  

Mqurice

[Mauricio, yes, I found those links in your blog while looking around.  I thought those points worth covering here, for comparison between systems.   It's not as though they are no longer important.  I am not sure what the green face means but I guess it's 'queasy']




Maurice Winn
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  Reply # 74747 15-Jun-2007 00:24 Send private message

Mauricio,   I had a look at ProjectX [Google kindly found it for me really fast, as usual]  and asked Sam [Zenbu directory inventor]
freitasm: Zenbu.co.nz . Any work with the ProjectX guys? Are they competition?


ProjectX and Zenbu Directory are heading down similar tracks.  Sam says Zenbu is a search system with mapping and ProjectX is mapping with a search system.    So yes, they are competitors.   It's a seething scene of competition 'out there'.   Telecom got a good price for Yellow Pages.  I feel sorry for the Ontario Teachers' pension fund as I don't see how Yellow Pages prices can be sustained against so many low-cost ways to advertize such as simple little banners on Geekzone run by Google and many on-line directories.

With advertizing targeted closer and closer to individual requirements, advertizing value goes up until when perfect, each advertisement will be presented just when the person is wanting to buy exactly that and it'll appear right where they are looking when they decide they want to buy that, and nobody else will see it.   I suppose Google will deliver them attached to email, ready to click. 

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  Reply # 74774 15-Jun-2007 10:49 Send private message

For me (being the socialist that I am) movements like FON (www.fon.com) I believe are the future.

Free Wireless from other hotspots as long as you share your own wireless, for me that sounds pretty fair.  Could lead to issues where inappropriate content was downloaded using your own internet connection, but at least they have a semi-billing system that logs all users online activity times...

And you can go out and buy a Linksys WRT54GL and reload it with the FON Firmware and you are away.  I also got one of the FON routers themselves under the FONBucks deal earlier on this year for free, sits above the local Starbucks, not that anyone has ever connected to it..... pretty hard to get paid for something that no one uses.

IMHO Roaming and having internet is a very expensive ordeal, Woosh is good for people who live in Wellington/Auckland/Southland, when going internationally I would go down the GSM/GPRS/HSPRD path and get a pre-paid SIM card in the country I am in.

The problem with the HotSpot path is that you still need to be signed up to a "Wireless Provider" who tend to charge the same Wounded Bull price of $10 per day for internet cafe usage that Voda/Telecom.

The real problem is WIFI coverage versus cost.  It costs a lot to have hotspots around the country/world (power / dedicated internet connection) every 100 meters or so versus the number of people who will actually use it.






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  Reply # 74783 15-Jun-2007 11:55 Send private message

Wi-Fi [and cyberspace in general] is a minefield of opportunity.  

Starting at the philosophical basics, socialism versus capitalism, the ideal [in my book] is that people get so far up Maslow's hierarchy of needs that they don't bother with needing money for what they do.  We are far from that Nirvana for nearly everyone. 

The "socialist" FON ideas are great for the well-off who don't need to scrabble for existence and when there's plenty for everyone.  But the "socialism" is usually at the other end of society where people are looking for an angle, grabbing from others, giving less than they take, and the tragedy of the commons is writ large.  

When the cost of measuring what people use is near-zero, as it is with Wi-Fi systems, and even road tolls these days with electronic monitoring and GPS management, it's better for people to pay for what they use.  Then systems work and it's better for everyone and it's cheaper and there's money for development.  "Free" sounds great, if "free" doesn't mean "hopeless" as Melbourne library's free Wi-Fi was two months ago due to overload.   Same for traffic jams galore on Auckland roads.   I knew of two people who actually choose to travel at the absolute peak time purely to reduce their time at home and their time at work, sitting in their nice comfy car with radio, smokes etc.   If they had to pay for peak road usage, they might kill time somewhere else [garden shed is the traditional place for hen-pecked over-worked blokes to hide]

 
BarTender: For me (being the socialist that I am) movements like FON (www.fon.com) I believe are the future.

Free Wireless from other hotspots as long as you share your own wireless, for me that sounds pretty fair. Could lead to issues where inappropriate content was downloaded using your own internet connection, but at least they have a semi-billing system that logs all users online activity times...
....
IMHO Roaming and having internet is a very expensive ordeal, Woosh is good for people who live in Wellington/Auckland/Southland, when going internationally I would go down the GSM/GPRS/HSPRD path and get a pre-paid SIM card in the country I am in.

The problem with the HotSpot path is that you still need to be signed up to a "Wireless Provider" who tend to charge the same Wounded Bull price of $10 per day for internet cafe usage that Voda/Telecom.

The real problem is WIFI coverage versus cost. It costs a lot to have hotspots around the country/world (power / dedicated internet connection) every 100 meters or so versus the number of people who will actually use it.


Away from home base is rarely a pleasure in cyberspace - with absurdly expensive connection prices being the main problem [for regular humans who aren't rich], if there is anything at all available. 

Hotspots don't have to be expensive.   They just are because people don't keep the costs as low as possible and charging like a wounded bull is traditional telecom ideology.  Wal-Mart "stack it high and sell it cheap" ideology is uncool in MBA circles.  

RoamAD has tried to provide metropolitan coverage but the number of people with devices is small in most places.  Japan's Livedoor has built a biggie Wi-Fi system inside the Yamanote line.   Japan is Geek paradise with Akihabara a lot of fun.  NZ is a cow paddock by comparison.   Lots of well-off people per square meter is the driver for Wi-Fi in metropolitan areas.   Reasonable coverage can be done for not much now.   A few years ago, a roof-top RoamAD "router" was a very large box costing $10,000.   Now they are cute little boxes.   Still not seriously cheap, but getting more reasonable.   As you find with your free Wi-Fi, there aren't swarms of people looking for service everywhere [unlike with cellphone service].  

We [Zenbu] think that cheap hotspot access is the place to start and as router costs come down, and 802.11n comes out, with better ADSL and other back-haul,   it'll become more economic, providing some fringe competition to the high-priced Vodafone/Telecom wireless services.  

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  Reply # 75845 25-Jun-2007 09:49 Send private message

Boingo goes flat rate, which isn't any good for New Zealand with expensive internet service provider megabyte prices and slow service.   http://gigaom.com/2007/06/24/flat-rate-boingo/

Charging by time doesn't make sense in New Zealand.  

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Reply # 75847 25-Jun-2007 10:12 Send private message

Flat rate is not the same as charging by time...







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  Reply # 75899 25-Jun-2007 17:47 Send private message

Hi Mauricio.   I have read it again and it still looks like time-charging.  
freitasm: Flat rate is not the same as charging by time...


<< For a monthly fee of €29, or $39, subscribers can use any of the company's affiliated hotspots for as long as they want.   >>

So, for a certain amount of money, the subscriber gets a certain amount of time.   In this instance, customers get a month of time if they pay $39.    If they pay another $39, they get another month. 

In some systems, if one buys an hour of time, one gets an hour of access.   If one buys a day of time, one gets connected for a day [though some companies have fine print saying - "Provided you don't go over the maximum numbrer of megabytes allowed per day".  They get you on megabytes and if they don't get you megabytes they get you on the day. 

Zenbu charges by megabytes.   There is no time variable.  

I will now consult the Boingo site for the horse's mouth view.    Sure enough, it's time:   http://boingo.com/

Note that Boingo has one site listed in New Zealand.  http://boingo.com/search.html $39 a month [US$] all-you-can-eat is not going to work in NZ.    If somebody goes Snowboarding at Ruapehu and wants to check emails and cerf around cyberspace and only be there for a few days, it's pretty steep to have to pay US$39.    Then pay the same again for the following month's trip.  

Yes, there's a subtle difference between paying by the hour, or day, rather than by the month, but it's still a big drain on somebody's data allowance and bandwidth if they get somebody feasting on bandwidth for a day or two.   

Eat all you like doesn't work for things which have a marginal cost of production, or are limited in supply.    Our eat-all-you-like road system has resulted in hideous traffic jams [in Auckland].   Eat all you like is fine on the wide and straight roads of the South Island.    Eat all you like in Tauranga [on the harbour bridge] has resulted in jams [the day the took the toll off].    

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  Reply # 75903 25-Jun-2007 18:21 Send private message

Reading the Boingo fine print, in terms and conditions, they bring it back to a per minute rate, not just a per month rate: 
freitasm: Flat rate is not the same as charging by time...


Here's the fine print <<3. Locations and usage.

Because we do not own or operate all of the access points included in the Service, not all access points to use the Services or enabled venues may be available at all times.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT BOINGO GLOBAL IS LIMITED TO 3,000 MINUTES OF USE OF THE SERVICES DURING ANY CALENDAR MONTH. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF MINUTES THAT YOU CAN USE THE SERVICE IN ANY CALENDAR MONTH IS 3,000. IF YOU USE MORE THAN 3,000 MINUTES OF SERVICES IN ANY CALENDAR MONTH, THEN WE MAY SUSPEND YOUR ACCOUNT UNTIL THE NEXT CALENDAR MONTH OR WE MAY TERMINATE YOUR ACCOUNT.>>


So people can have 100 minutes a day of connection which is not even two hours.    No mention of quantity of data to be used. 

It all looks like time, not megabytes.  

In Japan, there is fibre and 100 mbps all over the place and Livedoor [Tarken-san's old company] has built a large Wi-Fi network inside the Yamanote line.   Flat rate pricing makes sense where there is big heaps of spare capacity and the cost of dickering around measuring a few dollars of value isn't worth the trouble.   In NZ, where Telecom ekes out the megabytes one by one to internet service providers who also have to make a living, eat all you like doesn't make sense.   

I see moaning about Slingshot's speed in another part of Geekzone, with speeds measured in kilobits per minute rather than megabytes per second.  

Mqurice




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  Reply # 545738 15-Nov-2011 20:32 Send private message

sbiddle: I personally see no future for WiFi hotspots unless you're part of a global network such as Boingo. Why do I think this? Because WiFi is expanding from a PC only feature to being something embedded in mobile phones, WiFi phones, and satnav systems. Using VoIP over WiFi on my Nokia E65 is awesome but I don't want a web based authentication system that I have to enter my login details because it's just to complex from a phone. Hotspot authentication needs to transparent and seamless to the end user. Boingo currently have software for Pocket PC's and Symbian devices that will automatically connect to hotspots allowing VoIP for US$7.95 per month. This is the future. As more and more devices support embedded WiFi players such as Boingo will incorporate their software into devices becuase they have the worldwide partners to do this. Ignore it at your own peril..


Reviewing the situation 4.5 years later.    It turned out there was plenty of future for a well-designed New Zealand Wi-Fi network with extended coverage zones which are not part of a global network.   

Symbian is of historical interest.    Android HTC DeVices and iPhones have no trouble connecting via web based authentication and can be set to auto-login any time a Zenbu Zone is spotted by the DeVice.   Siri might even do it for you.   "Hey Siri, hook me up with Zenbu when you see it."    Now Microsoft and Nokia are back in business together with Qualcomm asics for a third technological route into mobile Cyberspace.

Wifi is booming.    Poorly designed wifi systems are not.   

The fun has just begun.  

 

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  Reply # 545745 15-Nov-2011 20:42 Send private message

And Boingo had continued to grow with no over 400000 hotspots globally that can all be accessed with a single signin.

Last I heard there were around 1500 Boingo hotspots in NZ. For US$7.95 per month I can get unlimited access to any of these from a mobile device, along with the other 398500 around the world.

I'm not saying there is no market for systems outside this, but quite clearly the business case for Boingo is pretty compelling, and as I predicted it's had massive growth with the number of global AP's increasing from around 100000 in 2009.






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  Reply # 546267 17-Nov-2011 07:58 Send private message

sbiddle: 
Last I heard there were around 1500 Boingo hotspots in NZ. For US$7.95 per month I can get unlimited access to any of these from a mobile device, along with the other 398500 around the world.


Thanks for the update.   As you know, there are concerns about unlimited access for a small price in NZ due to the cost of data,  the copyright infringement law, as well as overloading the broadband making the connection slow for other users.   

Unlimited wifi for US$8 per month is certainly a great deal for most users, but not such a great deal for the providers of the service such as motels or backpackers in NZ.   A service needs to make sense for each party in the chain - end user, wifi provider, business owner, broadband supplier.    At US$8 per month, the business owner [such as a motel or cafe] would find themselves providing huge downloads at times,  if not prosecuted.

Zenbu has 870 active zones in NZ with about 40% growth rate so Boingo will have to hurry to stay ahead, if they are.    Tomizone is now the only one with more [but quality of zone matters more than how many there are].   

Not only is wifi booming, it is gaining ground against wide area networks.    Qualcomm is developing femtocells to mimic wifi and enable better use of licensed spectrum.     The competition is mounting for the Vodafone/Telecom mobile phone duopoly.   2degrees is off to a good start and wifi is now very useful in a lot of places.    The copyright protection law could yet stop wifi being very useful and leave the field open to Telecom/Vodafone to maintain their extorquerationate profits.    It serves some interests to have wifi fail.   



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  Reply # 546269 17-Nov-2011 08:03 Send private message

RoamAD was liquidated [at substantial personal cost - investment loss] though the technology lives on in the Kordia wifi network backed by Auckland City Council in various parts of Auckland. Len Brown is throwing public money at it. It would be interesting to see the return on investment.

Globalstar [ticker GSAT] is still in business and has started launching the next constellation. Arguments with the Federal Communications Commission in the USA over Ancillary Terrestrial Component spectrum have resulted in serious disputes and Globalstar's terrestrial partner has failed. SPOT is a great system for avoiding the SEARCH in SEARCH and RESCUE. If people have SPOT, it's a matter of a button being pressed for emergency help and the rescuers going directly to the spot marked on the Google map which can be emailed to anyone. SPOT can also track the person [or thing] so that subsequent movement can locate them. Iridium also continues in business with elderly satellites and has some excellent SPOT equivalents.

Qualcomm is booming. Our [I'm a shareholder] latest venture is wireless charging of electric vehicles using technology from Auckland University. Telecom is about to close the CDMA network after a decade of operation [never having used the competitive advantage to the full].

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