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Labour urges ISPs to lift data caps

Spokesperson for Communications and IT
22 August 2011

Labour urges ISPs to lift data caps

New Zealand Internet Service Providers should consider lifting caps on data, now that there will be stronger competition in the international bandwidth market, Labour’s Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

In response to news that Vodafone New Zealand and Pacific Fibre have signed a multi-million dollar agreement for an undersea cable system between New Zealand, Australia and the US Clare Curran said: “Any measures that are intended to break down New Zealand’s digital divide in terms of connectivity, speed and pricing are to be encouraged.

“Currently Kiwi consumers are constrained by data caps imposed on them by ISPs. In order to access more data they pay a high price compared with many other countries, including Australia.

“In Australia, data caps have recently risen from tens of Gigabytes to Terabytes. Once again New Zealand is slipping further behind competing businesses across the Tasman.

“This is a strong signal that the new Pacific Fibre cable will bring much needed competition to the international bandwidth market. One of the biggest constraints on ultrafast broadband is restrictive international connectivity.

“As the number of internet enabled devices rapidly increases, and the time spent by individuals using the internet continues to increase, the demand for faster internet connections rises and the volume of data per person and per device also increases rapidly.

“The ability to access data is important as business applications feature more and more in the corporate world. They require high speed low latency connections to be effective. Labour believes one of the biggest constraints to Kiwis accessing and utilising high speed broadband is the limits placed on their usage by data caps.

“A key constraint on data access has been the monopoly held by Southern Cross Cable which has exacted high prices over the years to ISPs for access. The recent threat of competition has forced Southern Cross to drop its prices enormously.

“Labour supports this increased competition and believes there's now no reason now that data caps should be so constrained,” Clare Curran said.


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