One of our Geekzone readers sent this letter to the Communications Minister Stephen Joyce, the presidents of InternetNZ and ISPANZ. We received a copy and I got authorisation to publish it here:
Firstly, I just wanted to thank both the TUANZ and InternetNZ for their excellent work in the NZ Internet scene in the recent past. Tireless efforts by organisations such as yours have vastly improved the quality and price of Internet access for New Zealanders in the past few years!
It is also heartening to see the current National government continuing the good work completed to date in improving Internet connectivity and conditions in NZ.
I'd like to raise the issue of unmetered data transfers for national Internet traffic (that is; Internet data transferred between two endpoints, both located within New Zealand). I am speaking from both the perspective of a private Internet user and as a member of an Internet based backup company (Databack Ltd).
Back in the early days of ADSL connections in NZ, unmetered national traffic was available, but we have taken a turn for the worse on this front and this charging model is no longer available to the average private user. I see unmetered national traffic as being a very important aspect of Internet access, and without it, Internet based businesses and private users in NZ are being artificially disadvantaged. There are a number of Internet based business models which are currently not economically viable due to this issue. For example; businesses selling digital video products are particularly disadvantaged due to the size of the data transfers required. In addition to businesses, private Internet users are needlessly being charged for traffic which could easily be transferred without charge.
From what I understand, the root cause of this issue is that the major NZ ISPs (namely Telecom & Telstra) have ceased their national peer connections to the rest of the country's ISPs. This has in turn given the other ISPs no choice but to charge for all traffic, national and international. There are probably other factors involved, but I see this action by Telecom and Telstra as both anti-competitive and unproductive; this attitude doesn't benefit Internet users or the economy.
A reversal of this situation and a return to unmetered national traffic will benefit all Internet users and providers in NZ. If private users know they will not be charged for national traffic, they will go out of their way to source their data from within NZ rather than be charged for international traffic. This obviously also benefits ISPs due to the continued high cost of wholesale international bandwidth. Without national traffic metering for private users, business utilising digital delivery models become viable and innovation and the economy in general will be stimulated.
Are there any plans or actions in motion aimed at reversing the 'metered national traffic' situation? Are we likely to see unmetered Internet access reinstated in NZ in the near future?
Private Internet User
Member of 'DataBack Ltd'