Fibre Readiness Survey – Barriers to Uptake

In 2010 a survey on business use of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) was conducted.  Earlier this year (2015) it was decided to survey the TUANZ membership once again and to invite the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA) to participate given the length of time UFB had been available in that area.  The survey was conducted online during the month of June 2015.

Over November, each week we will publish a post that covers off a key finding from the survey finishing up with our thoughts on the opportunities that we see arising from the survey results. We have also published the data to the Figure.NZ site and you can see the results herenote that at present that although the graph titles state that it is “TUANZ members”, the results include the GETBA results as well.   If you want to know more of the background and the response rate you can read that on our website here.

This week we look at what barriers to uptake that became apparent from the responses in the survey.  The first barrier is simply the apparent lack of awareness that a fibre service is available.

It is interesting to note that in 2015, some 39% of all respondents without fibre (n=98) didn’t know whether UFB was available in their area.  When added to those who thought UFB wasn’t available, that figure grew to almost 60% of those without fibre. This data was gathered when the rollout to businesses was some 93% complete.  The TUANZ results are in line with those from the Statistics New Zealand Business Operations Survey 2014 supplied to Chorus which found that 48% of respondents cited lack of availability of fibre as the greatest barrier to uptake.  Note that market research on UFB has generally shown high awareness of what UFB is, which should not be confused with where it is available.

The second apparent barrier was the perceived price of a fibre service.  When all respondents were asked what speed broadband they would like to buy in future (n= 142), it is interesting to look at the impact of UFB prices, now that they are in market. Non-fibre respondents (n= 72) were more likely to buy lower speed, lower cost plans than those already on UFB or fibre.  

Other barriers to takeup among non-fibre respondents were the one off installation cost, the monthly access cost of the new service and the cost to break an existing contract or potential risk to business interruption.  There were perceived as the four greatest barriers to connecting, being considered a “high” or “very high” barrier by 56%, 44% and 34% equal respectively. Of least concern to this group was the need to gain a neighbour or building owners’ consent to connect and potential hardware, software or systems integration costs.

When asked what businesses would like to know more about, respondents (n= 84) had a strong or great need for information on performance guarantees (56%), UFB rollout timeframes (49%) and speeds and bandwidth (47%).  Non-fibre users were more than twice as likely as those already with UFB/fibre to want to find out more about applying the benefits of UFB to their business model and products, services and solutions which run over UFB, however this was off a low base and should be considered indicative only.  The survey in 2010 demonstrated a real lack of interest in these aspects of UFB by non-fibre/UFB users, but given the sample size in 2015 (n =~40) it is hard to draw an accurate conclusion about the extent to which this has changed.

When asked who they would trust to advise them on UFB (n = 121), over half the respondents chose their IT provider (50.4%) to assist, followed by their retail service provider (47%) or TUANZ (40%).   Asked if they would undertake training to make the most of UFB, (n = 120) more than half the respondents (52%) were not willing to do so. Given this, the sample size of respondents to further questions about training was not sufficient to draw meaningful conclusions.  

 

 

 

Fibre Readiness Survey – SME’s yet to seize the opportunity

In 2010 a survey on business use of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) was conducted by TUANZ.  Earlier this year (2015) it was decided to survey the TUANZ membership once again and to invite the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA) to participate given the length of time UFB had been available in that area.  The survey was conducted online during the month of June 2015.

Over November, each week we will publish a post that covers off a key finding from the survey finishing up with our thoughts on the opportunities that we see arising from the survey results. We have also published the data to the Figure.NZ site and you can see the results herenote that at present that although the graph titles state that it is “TUANZ members”, the results include the GETBA results as well.   If you want to know more of the background and the response rate you can read that on our website here.

This week we look at the uptake amongst SME’s in the survey and conclude that they are yet to seize the opportunities available to them.

In 2010 around 64% of respondents said they already had at least one fibre service. This was not surprising given that fibre optic services had already been deployed in many CBD locations and the majority of respondents were corporates. For clarity on the difference – fibre laid before the UFB initiative was not built as part of an open access network available for all retail service providers to offer services over, and therefore more costly. It was largely made up of a series of bespoke, point-to-point connections from the exchange directly into the corporate office.

Back in 2010, of all respondents asked about their likelihood to connect to UFB within a year of it being available, 82% said they were “likely to”, “highly likely to” or “definitely will” connect. This could only be considered an indicator of future behaviour as no retail costs were provided then.

By 2015 49.5% of all respondents had actually taken up UFB or fibre at their head office or single site. More than 20% of those with UFB or fibre had pre-existing fibre and more than 65% were corporates.  Drilling down, the share of those who had not taken up UFB was 42.3% and of them, 60% were SME.

The message from several studies in recent years, that there are untapped productivity and efficiency gains available to SMEs with a strong internet presence, isn’t yet changing behaviour.  

Cloud applications, remote working and voice-over-IP were the areas most businesses said they would consider investing in to use UFB. This was in line with the feedback in 2010, although collaborative tools ranked more highly then. Improved productivity, remote working and improved video conferencing were the most well known benefits of UFB.

Less than half the total respondents answered questions about the need for further information. Interestingly, the information most sought after was simple, high level and readily available, such as performance guarantees, UFB rollout timeframes, and speeds and bandwidth.

Looking forward, the survey results suggest there remains a strong need for wholesale and retail service providers to improve awareness of UFB availability, especially among SMEs.

Fibre Readiness Survey – SME’s yet to seize the opportunity

In 2010 a survey on business use of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) was conducted by TUANZ.  Earlier this year (2015) it was decided to survey the TUANZ membership once again and to invite the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA) to participate given the length of time UFB had been available in that area.  The survey was conducted online during the month of June 2015.

Over November, each week we will publish a post that covers off a key finding from the survey finishing up with our thoughts on the opportunities that we see arising from the survey results. We have also published the data to the Figure.NZ site and you can see the results herenote that at present that although the graph titles state that it is “TUANZ members”, the results include the GETBA results as well.   If you want to know more of the background and the response rate you can read that on our website here.

This week we look at the uptake amongst SME’s in the survey and conclude that they are yet to seize the opportunities available to them.

In 2010 around 64% of respondents said they already had at least one fibre service. This was not surprising given that fibre optic services had already been deployed in many CBD locations and the majority of respondents were corporates. For clarity on the difference – fibre laid before the UFB initiative was not built as part of an open access network available for all retail service providers to offer services over, and therefore more costly. It was largely made up of a series of bespoke, point-to-point connections from the exchange directly into the corporate office.

Back in 2010, of all respondents asked about their likelihood to connect to UFB within a year of it being available, 82% said they were “likely to”, “highly likely to” or “definitely will” connect. This could only be considered an indicator of future behaviour as no retail costs were provided then.

By 2015 49.5% of all respondents had actually taken up UFB or fibre at their head office or single site. More than 20% of those with UFB or fibre had pre-existing fibre and more than 65% were corporates.  Drilling down, the share of those who had not taken up UFB was 42.3% and of them, 60% were SME.

The message from several studies in recent years, that there are untapped productivity and efficiency gains available to SMEs with a strong internet presence, isn’t yet changing behaviour.  

Cloud applications, remote working and voice-over-IP were the areas most businesses said they would consider investing in to use UFB. This was in line with the feedback in 2010, although collaborative tools ranked more highly then. Improved productivity, remote working and improved video conferencing were the most well known benefits of UFB.

Less than half the total respondents answered questions about the need for further information. Interestingly, the information most sought after was simple, high level and readily available, such as performance guarantees, UFB rollout timeframes, and speeds and bandwidth.

Looking forward, the survey results suggest there remains a strong need for wholesale and retail service providers to improve awareness of UFB availability, especially among SMEs.

What do we mean by “Telecommunications”

Yesterday we made a public release of a paper in which we outlined the key high level issues we thought should be discussed and debated as part of the current review of the Telecommunications Act – you can read it here
 
We’re very clear that our focus is on the outcomes for our members, and to help businesses make the most of the new digitally connected economy. And it’s that phrase “digitally connected” that has got me thinking and talking with TUANZ members over the last few months about how that lines up with the word “telecommunications” in the name of our organisation. 
 
The word itself is basically a 1930’s French word – being a combination of tele meaning ‘at a distance’ and communicationAccording to Google, the use of the word peaked in the last 90’s and has slowly dropped off since then. And you can probably understand that – what comes to mind when you think of the telecommunications? If you’re of my generation you probably first think of telephones and maybe even the old rotary dial phones! If you’re younger you may not even know what a rotary dial is. In fact you probably haven’t even really thought about how we ended up with the telecommunication services we have today – you just are used to being able to communicate through various digital technologies. And so why would you be interested in an organisation that is called the Telecommunications Users Association?
 
Well… I’ve been talking to people about that too. I’ve come to the conclusion that the word does encapsulate so much more than just telephones, circuits or infrastructure. It very much describes the modern digital connected world.  Many online businesses didn’t exist 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. They use the power of the internet to reach out and communicate over distance to people who visit the business’ website and (hopefully) transact while there. These businesses wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for telecommunications. TUANZ has a growing number of young entrepreneurs who are getting involved because they know that they couldn’t do what they do if it wasn’t for an organisation like ours, working to help businesses make the most of the opportunities presented by today’s digital economy.
 
In truth today’s digital environment is just the latest development in telecommunications – we’ve just added the internet to the ways we communicate over distance. For example, this was written using Google Docs, blogged using Squarespace, an online, browser based website builder that relies on being connected to the internet to work.   You might receive a message via SMS, or by an app on your smartphone while reading this, and you probably work in a business that in some way uses the internet to transact or communicate. All of these are examples of the use of telecommunications – so maybe it’s not quite time to retire the word yet.

GUEST BLOG* : Introducing the Data Counsel

In September, Lillian Grace, founder and CEO of Figure.NZ will be the speaker at the TUANZ After5 series.  Figure.NZ is growing and has just appointed Aaron Schiff to the role as Data Counsel.  Below is a blog post he wrote to explain what that means.

“I’m really excited to be appointed as Data Counsel at Figure.NZ (formerly Wiki New Zealand), and I could be your Data Counsel too. What’s a Data Counsel? I’ll explain, but first…

Figure.NZ is on a mission to democratise data by making it usable by everyone. There’s tons of fascinating public data out there, but for the most part it’s trapped in obstinate spreadsheets and clunky web tools. Figure.NZ has built some really cool software called Grace that liberates this data and turns it into friendly charts and tables, and also serves it up via an API.

This is really important because data only creates value when it is used. Before Figure.NZ, using New Zealand’s public data required a lot of specialised skills and knowledge. Now all you need is curiosity. This means that vastly more people will be able to use data and generate value from it.

So what is a Data Counsel? Lillian Grace, Figure.NZ’s Founder and CEO, created this term for me. It is inspired by legal counsel, who advise, solve problems, and dispense general wisdom. This is essentially what I’ll be doing for Figure.NZ, its clients and its users but obviously in relation to data instead of law.

As well as data publishing, Figure.NZ often gets asked by companies, government, individuals, industry groups, and others for advice on how to think about or use data, and sometimes this is internal or private data that falls outside Figure.NZ’s main focus. Sometimes the guidance can be easily and freely given, sometimes it turns into a project that sees more data published on Figure.NZ, and sometimes it requires really specialised work. I’ll be helping with all of these things.

I’m super excited and grateful to be able to help such a talented group of people who are doing important and valuable work.  We have some great things coming soon, so stay tuned!”

*Guest Blogs do not necessarily reflect TUANZ official position but are posted to encourage debate and discussion on pertinent issues.

GUEST BLOG : UFB AT HALFWAY POINT — IS EVERYBODY HAPPY?

Guest Blog* from Bill Bennett.  Bill blogs here.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says New Zealand’s government supported fibre network has hit the halfway point.

In a press release the minister says: “The UFB build is going from strength-to-strength, with fibre being rolled out to communities up and down the country. The project continues to be on budget and well ahead of schedule”.

There’s little question about the project being on budget that’s because Chorus shareholders have to find the lion’s share of the cost. The other network builders have to invest their own money too.

Well ahead of schedule sounds right. But that’s partly because the companies picked the low-hanging fruit first.

Anecdotally I hear the build in Auckland, which makes up more than a third of the total project, is running behind schedule. Meanwhile people living in apartments are a long way behind any schedule.

Going from strength-to-strength is debatable.

Cherry-pick

To date only one-in-eight of the people able to connect to fibre have signed-up. Given that the UFB builders cherry-picked the richest suburbs as the first to get fibre, this doesn’t bode well.

Also, as Chris Keall points out at the NBR: “…that number includes the schools that have received free connections, network management and free broadband from Crown company N4L”.

And then there are the widely reported congestion woes. Since March TrueNet, the broadband speed monitoring service, has been reporting on poor performance during the evening.

Streaming video peak time

This is the streaming video peak time. It turns out the networks can’t cope with thousands of consumers all watching Netflix at the same time.

Even the fibre-only MyRepublic service struggles. This suggests a need for further investment in backhaul and ISP provisioning.

You could argue congestion is a sign of New Zealand’s broadband network going from strength-to-strength. It means there’s a healthy demand for data services even if consumers aren’t in a hurry to switch to fibre.

Demand to grow?

Optimists assume fibre demand will grow as streaming video gathers momentum with consumers.

Radio New Zealand has followed another fibre story undermining the strength-to-strength message:
“Crown Fibre Holdings – which is in charge of the Government’s $2 billion UFB rollout – wanted to ensure service providers such as Spark and Vodafone had to offer battery backup.”

There’s a remarkable Nine-to-noon interview where Katherine Ryan questions Chris Bishop, a policy and programme manager at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Fibre battery backup

The man looks like either a liar or a fool as Ryan repeatedly asks why the ministry forced Crown Fibre Holdings to drop a requirement for ISPs to offer customer battery backup.

Time after time Bishop trots out an implausible line about “wanting to offer consumers a choice”. It doesn’t begin to address the issue.

Radio New Zealand had to get an official information request to find out about the ministry leaning on Crown Fibre and CFH’s response putting its objection to the ministry on the record is just as enlightening.

Ryan nails the key point when she notes that when this was happening suitable backup batteries cost around $300. If consumers thought they’d face that as an upfront cost, they wouldn’t sign for fibre.

Greater disclosure please

Craig Young from the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (Tuanz) says the lobby group was working with the industry to try to ensure companies installing broadband were more upfront with customers about the need for batteries.

He says: “You probably don’t even know where to find a product disclosure code, for a product that’s being sold by Spark. You want to be told on the phone when you get this service that it won’t work when the power goes off, there should be a requirement on service providers to be a lot more upfront about these sorts of things.”

Batteries can now be bought for about $100 and Mr Young said telcos could upsell those to consumers.

Fibre, batteries, power cuts

The issue is tricky. You need battery backup because unlike copper telephone networks, fibre doesn’t work in a power cut. Radio NZ worries that means people can’t make emergency calls.

Yet, with mobile phone penetration now at well over 100 percent, few households would be cut-off in an emergency. Certainly not the kind of tech-savvy households in a hurry to buy fibre.

Except there are places like the recently built old people’s accommodation in Wellington that is fibre only. The residents have to sign for fibre accounts and, at first, couldn’t make regular phone calls.

Old school telephone on fibre

Spark came to the UFB project’s rescue selling what is effectively a virtual plain old-fashioned telephone service over a fibre connection product. Any ISP could offer a similar product, the technology was baked-in to the UFB design from day one, but the others have chosen not to invest in that area.

That still leaves the problem of fibre failing in a power cut, but then so does everything else. We’re dependent on electricity. After the Christchurch earthquakes the mobile carriers used portable generators to power cell sites. People still had to find ways to charge their mobile phones.

There are still whiffs of amateur hour about the UFB project. You might well ask why it took the government until the roll-out’s halfway point to address the access issues.

And there are still questions over the price ISPs have to pay Chorus to use the old copper network. Spark recently rekindled the copper tax debate pointing out that half the money a customer pays for broadband goes directly to Chorus.

While we’re on the subject of the copper tax some sources have reported the government has made heavy-handed threats of retaliation if that term ever surfaces again in public debate. Clearly it touched a nerve. And that’s something that wouldn’t have happened if the UFB network was genuinely going from strength-to-strength.

There’s is a lot that’s right about the UFB network. It’s a great idea. For the most part it’s been well executed. But let’s not delude ourselves. It’s not perfect, nor is it going from strength-to-strength. Not yet.

*Guest Blogs do not necessarily reflect TUANZ official position but are posted to encourage debate and discussion on pertinent issues.

GUEST BLOG* : Impressions for Apple’s WWDC

Guest Blog* from Reuben Bilj, Co-founder at Smudge Apps. Smudge are a TUANZ member and was born at the start of the smartphone revolution.  They have been building mobile apps for the last 6 and a half years with clients such as Vodafone, SKY TV, STUFF and YELLOW.

“Apple hosts about 4 keynote events annually, and of these, WWDC (dub dub) is the odd one out. The focus for the week long event is what Apple’s software engineer’s have been working on over the last year and what that means for the scores of people who develop on Apple’s platforms.

I like to look at the announcements and changes through two lenses to interpret what the changes mean for us. These are; what are the things that are connected and are iterated on, and what are departures from the status quo.

The iterations

One constant since Apple introduced Mac OS X from the acquisition of NeXT has been it’s refinement and improvement. The shared software stack across iOS, OS X and now watchOS is a key strength for Apple and the relentless development of this stack shows it’s importance to Apple as the foundation of their software platforms.

Included in this software stack are all of the toolsets that are used to develop software. Apple has continued to refine and take ownership over all aspects of this stack most obviously starting 10 years ago with the introduction of their own compiler LLVM, to innovations like ARC to the introduction of Swift with no signs of slowing down with Swift 2 already this year.

Multitasking for iPad is another piece of the software toolchain that has had continuous improvements over the last few years. The first of these being the ability to support multiple screen heights with iOS 6 for the iPhone 5, followed by a set of technologies called Auto-Layout and Size Classes in iOS 7 and iOS 8 respectively that all contributed to making multitasking possible. The stage is set for new iPad’s that take full advantage of these new software features.

The Music app on iOS hadn’t been touched for a long time, however, I see Apple Music as an iteration as it shares many of the same features as the app it replaces combined with the features from the Beats Music App that was purchased as part of Beats last year.

This culture of taking something existing and making it better goes right through the stack. An example of how deeply Apple care about making the best products was revealed in their announcement that they had improved touchscreen technology. Apple was already the industry leader in how quickly the device can recognise a touch input and for most people it was good enough. Apple weren’t content with that and refined touch even further to halve the latency in recognising touch input. They made it twice as fast even though it was already the best in the industry.

The Changes

The conscious decision to include veteran senior female staff as presenters marks a new era of prioritising diversity. Alongside comments from both Phil Schiller and Tim Cook I am expecting to see a lot more in this space with the belief that this will impact both the products and the culture around the technology industry for the better. A major mark of this commitment to creating a variety of industry role models was that it was the first of the last fifty keynotes that Phil Schiller has not presented.

Creating a first party News app is an interesting departure from a folder of 3rd party News and Magazine apps with Newsstand. In a few months iOS 9 will most likely be on half a billion devices and this new approach from Apple has the potential to accelerate users away from both news sites and apps.

Another massive change was that Phil Schiller was interviewed live on an enthusiast Podcast by John Gruber called the Talk Show. He candidly answered questions about a range of topics, from the storage capacity of the entry level 16GB iPhone to the trade off between device thinness and battery life. For great insight into Apple culture and the thinking behind various topics I would highly recommend watching the video at https://vimeo.com/130510366.

For anyone that makes their living off Apple platforms the next 3 months give insight into Apple’s iteration at work as we get new version of watchOS 2, iOS 9 and el capitan every 2-3 weeks as they prepare for the next keynote and public launch of their work.

*Guest Blogs do not necessarily reflect TUANZ official position but are posted to encourage debate and discussion on pertinent issues.

GUEST BLOG*: Fibre to the Farm is a Walk in the Country

This guest blog* is from a posting originally on the website of TUANZ past CEO, Ernie Newman. (Original post here)

“The Rural Connectivity Symposium today, run by TUANZ and the Rural Health Alliance, was inspirational. It was incredibly heartening to see these organisations leading the connectivity debate. And it delivered a first for me – the first time I ever recall the best speech of a conference coming from the mandatory Cabinet Minister. Amy Adams is a class act – she spoke from the heart, was informal, informed, and engaging.

It made me think.

And I concluded that we are pussyfooting around with rural connectivity.  Fibre to every farm – and marae, and rural health centre – is the end goal. And New Zealand should forget about interim steps. Lets go for gold now.

First, a few givens. Rural New Zealand is our economic powerhouse. The Internet is not about to go away. Demand for bandwidth will continue to grow exponentially despite phone companies acting like startled rabbits caught on the hop. People living in isolated places need more, not less connectivity than city dwellers. Bandwidth is far more essential in rural areas than urban for education, health, business, lifestyle and entertainment. It is a necessity and not a luxury. The economic and social case is overwhelming.

Fibre is the ultimate solution. It has massive capacity. Yes, cellular wireless is needed also, but primarily for voice traffic and for the premium data traffic where mobility adds value – cellular is an adjunct to fixed lines and not an alternative, just as basic sea freight and premium air freight co-exist. Yes, fixed wireless too has a role for a while, but long term it will never match the capacity of fibre to the premises. Satellite is excellent as a service of last resort, but has fatal flaws in speed and cost.

Fibre, beyond doubt, is the future.

Fibre to the Farm can be ridiculously easy. Northpower, with its considerable success in Whangarei, demonstrated that today. Lines companies are very, very good at the simple business of stringing lines along poles. Conversely phone companies worldwide preserve their business models by making such simple tasks seem absurdly complex.

Last century an earlier generation of Kiwis reticulated electricity all over rural New Zealand. They had few labour-saving devices. They cut down trees, fashioned them into poles and cross bars, dug or concreted them into the ground, and laboriously strung copper wires across them.

So if 20th century Kiwis could achieve that, then surely we 21st century ones can get fibre to farms? The poles already exist. We have technology like chain saws, bucket trucks and mole ploughs. We can minimise compliance costs by legislating for fibre telephone lines to be carried across poles with copper electricity lines without additional consent processes – that’s easy. Added visual pollution, if it exists, is negligible.

So let’s take a lesson from our ancestors. Stringing fibre along existing power poles is literally, a walk in the country.

The Minister should engage the electricity lines companies over this. She should ask them how feasible it would be to string fibre to every one of their rural electricity consumers, what it might cost, and how much they would have to charge telecommunications companies for the lease in order to make the investment viable.

Telecommunications companies have survived historically by intimidating and bamboozling governments into thinking their business is far more complex than is the case. Perhaps its time to slow down the new Ultra Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband programmes, so fibre to the farm over the electricity network can be seriously explored as an alternative.

If it works financially it will future proof our communications needs for many decades ahead, and provide a massive economic and social dividend.”

*Guest Blogs do not necessarily reflect TUANZ official position but are posted to encourage debate and discussion on pertinent issues.

Becounted campaign

Yesterday SPARK launched a campaign to remind the general user community that the Commerce Commission process to decide the UCLL/UBA FPP (Final Pricing Principe) price is at a very important point.  Right now the Commission is working through the detail of submissions and cross submissions and are looking to release a further draft determination on the 2nd July 2015.  

The campaign highlights the fact that the draft FPP pricing would lead to an increase in the price that the Retail Service Providers pay to Chorus, although the reduction made in December 2014 as a result of the IPP (Interim Pricing Principle) is greater than the proposed increase in the FPP price.  You can find the campaign’s website here

We are not part of the campaign but we support the sentiment of bringing the matter to the attention of users and getting them to look at the issue.  We encourage users to read about the current process and submit as they see fit on their views.  You can see all the formal submissions on the Commerce Commission website here.  We remain absolutely committed to the Commerce Commission process and will continue to participate and represent the views of our user members.

Our position on the draft FPP price

We’ve consistently said we want the right price to be set – and that is why we have stressed to the Commission that they take the right amount of time to get it as right as possible.  They as the independent regulator must ensure they use the best available information to make fully informed decisions.  And it is a general TUANZ position that we need to be competitive on an international basis and so we will be watching carefully to see if the outcome meets that.

Our position on backdating

We do not believe the commission should backdate any price changes when this leads to a reduction in consumer benefits.

You can read the joint submission made by us with Consumer NZ and Internet NZ here.

LATEST UPDATE: Today (1st June) I’ve been told that the campaign itself has led to over 50,000 emails being sent to the Commerce Commission.

Our thoughts on the current Global VPN / Content Issue

TUANZ is a not-for-profit membership association which comprises over 150 members, predominantly large organisations with a strong dependency on telecommunications technology as well as small enterprises.   We also serve a representative group of SMEs and individual members. These small businesses and residential users are also the customers of our large corporate members, who are just as focused on the quality of their customers’ connectivity as their own.   We believe in the value of presenting professional and credible positions on issues that affect our members in line with our principles of encouraging digital uptake in our members businesses and homes through promoting fair and sustainable competition.

Recently four larger media organisations issued legal letters to a number of telecommunication retail service providers (RSPs) asking them to cease and desist in the use and marketing of the Global Mode DNS services.   They went further and demanded that the RSPs state that the use of these DNS services were illegal and should not have been used.  It is not TUANZ’s place to take sides in what is essentially a commercial and legal dispute between the companies, and we will always act impartially with the outcome for users in mind.

While we sympathise with the media organisations in that they believe they have purchased exclusive rights, we also believe that the legal case against Global Mode is unproven and until it is then no RSP should be required to switch off the service and thereby reduce competition for end-users.   If this means a case will be taken and decided in the courts then so be it, all parties will then have clarity around the current legal position.

We support the continued innovation by all New Zealand companies which provide users choice on how to consume content.  However the internet by its nature encourages the breakdown of traditional business models and geographic boundaries and so it is our view that the laws governing this need to be reviewed to ensure they work well for New Zealanders today and in the future.  These include copyright laws, as well as others such as tax laws to ensure that companies providing services in New Zealand are required to play by the same rules.  We would welcome a comprehensive review and would look to represent our members views at the relevant time.