Thanks for all the replies, seems like Telecom have their compensations.
However, i joined Snap in the end - I hope that is not a mistake.
Snap has a similar deal to telecom, although their GB is a little dearer I also get free voice calls anywhere in the south island (Telecom wont). Their speed and reputation is up there with telecom's ?
Also, they were willing to waive this 'transfer fee' if my number was NOT owned by Telstra - I rang Telstra and it is NOT owned, it's in the 'common pool'. I also asked Telecom if they would waive it and - NO. (It actually started to feel like the old Telecom - you know, back when they were the only game in town for broadband and you had 128KB/s download and YOU WILL LIKE IT).
I was keen on Telecom, even thought of dumping the $99 option - but, when I rang them I was waiting, waiting on the phone, got annoyed and rang Snap - answered with a minute.
Oh well - if Snap doesn't cut it, i'll have to pay $150 to quit them if inside 12 months. Seems most are happy with them according to the Snap forum. And i hope them winning TUANZ isp of the year for 3 years means something...
I was one of those anti-telecom customers years ago. They were total rubbish and their rep didn't seem to be getting any better with XT.
But these days, Telecom broadband is fantastic! It doesn't matter if it is peak time or not, I always get between 15Mb/s and 18Mb/s down and 1Mb/s up. I've done speed tests around the clock for months and I've never seen anything score below a 10 after the switch to ADSL 2+
I am a very happy Telecom customer.
Another provider to seriously consider would be Actrix. They are still the number one most reliable ISP in my book.
If you are an avid gamer and like your international ping to be low, go with Telecom. As far as I know, everyone still goes through them at the end of the day. (apart from Telstra Clear customers maybe?)
I was with Actrix with interleaving off with a ping of 80ms to Australia. I switched to Telecom and it changed to 50 with interleaving on and 15 to 30 with it off.