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Don't Get Mad, Get Even - ihug

Thurs, 20 May 2004

Don't Get Mad, Get Even - ihug

Ihug, New Zealand's original Internet pioneer, says that Kiwis angered at the government's wussy approach to unbundling should look to vote with their wallets and cut the cord as soon as they can.

"The outcry at the government's predictable failure to open telecommunications up to greater competition by unbundling the local loop is totally justified," says David Diprose, GM Networks at ihug. "It's a decision that, if unchallenged, will leave New Zealand in the dark ages.

"We're not surprised. And we've been getting on with the job of developing a better solution. Our advice to consumers and small businesses is: 'Don't get mad. Get even.' Shortly ihug will unveil a new phone and internet service, initially in Auckland and Hamilton, that will enable customers to cut the cord connecting them to Telecom, forever getting rid of the dead weight anchor of Telecom's aging copper wire network."

As to the proposed partial unbundling, where Telecom will offer access to the 256k service to other Internet Service Providers, in addition to the 128k wholesale service it presently offers, Diprose says. "It's pathetic".

"This 256k service doesn't even qualify as broadband in the rest of the world! If the government believes that a partially unbundled ADSL service is a better option, then let's have all high speeds available on this basis, not just 256k!" continues Diprose. Steve Dalby, iiNet's regulatory spokesman, says that New Zealand's broadband penetration of 2 percent is already behind the rest of the Western world, including Australia, the UK, Norway and Canada.

"New Zealand used to be right at the forefront of broadband take-up," says Diprose.

"This decision holds New Zealand back, whereas competition in other parts of the world has significantly opened up choice for broadband users." "This issue isn't just about broadband," he adds. "Telecom wants to force us all into paying $40 for a phone line that you don't actually need. Unbundled broadband access will drive down the costs of telephony services by delivering both through a single connection. That's what really frightens Telecom."

ENDS

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