Stephen Fry was throttled - Telecom

Sorry Stephen, it's just how we do things in this part of the world

UPDATE: 3.30pm: New Zealand broadband might not be up to snuff, but we have the best spin doctors. 

"Essentially the situation with Mr Fry this morning was a misunderstanding," a Telecom spokeswoman told NBR this afternoon.

"He was downloading and uploading large video files on a residential data plan that was unsuitable for his requirements. It had been set up by the existing occupants of the house and only had an average data limit," she said.

"As a result, Mr Fry had exceeded the data allowance, and so his speed was throttled. So his comments were in reference to throttled speed, rather than actual broadband speed.

"This morning, we spoke to the account holder and got the house on a plan much more suited to his needs, and I understand everyone is happy with the new situation."  

However his subsequent tweets indicated Mr Fry - who arrived in Wellington this week for a role in Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit - was not 110% happy with the way things are done in Godzone.

"Well, seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest. It seems I exceeded a d'load limit and had my BB throttled to a crawl: @TelecomNZ have put this right this right. Very quick and polite. But I wonder if everyone who complains gets this attention? I think Comcast style throttliI think Comcast style throttling is a for the economy it's disastrous, for visitors for everyone," the actor tweeted.

Adding, "Yes, kiwi land is remote, but if Avatar can be made here and NZ wants to keep its rep for being the loveable, easy-going, outdoorsy yet tech savvy place it is, then pressure @telecomnz into offering better packages."

The data caps that accompany New Zealand landline broadband plans are unusual in the developed world. In most countries, all-you-can-eat data is the norm. 

Mr Fry also seemed to be caught on the hop by capped upload speed. The actor seems more acclimatised to faster DSL connections, or fibre that allows top-speed in both directions.

Follow Stephen Fry on Twitter.


New Zealand broadband bagged by Hobbit star

8.30am: On the eve of the Commerce Commission's Future Broadband conference in Auckland, UK actor Stephen Fry has let loose on Twitter about the state of New Zealand's broadband.

Mr Fry, who is in Wellington to play a role in Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, said on the social network this morning, "New Zealand so fine. It they have probably the worst. Broadband I've ever encountered. Turns itself off slows to a crawl. Pathetic."

He added, "Rise up, Kiwis and demand better? You wouldn't allow crap roads with pot holes and single file."

The actor - who has close to 4 million followers on Twitter, complained about the "complacent Telecomm [sic] and their contemptuous attitude to customers."

Telecommunications Users Association boss Paul Brislen had sympathy for the visiting star.

"New Zealand needs to do more to avoid being left behind by the rest of the world - rural New Zealand doubly so - 5Mbit/s is too slow. We need to do better."

Embarrassing
Pacific Fibre CEO Mark Rushworth weighed in with the harsher "It's always embarrassing when international guests stay in our hotels and experience a painfully slow 100MB data cap for $30."

Mr Rushworth's company, backed by Rich Listers Rod Drury, Sir Stephen Tindall and Sam Morgan, is aiming to break the 50% Telecom-owned Southern Cross Cable's monopoly on New Zealand's interent connection to the outside world.

Pacific Fibre sees its cable as complementing the main domestic broadband intiative - the $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) intiative - which will see fibre connections to many homes, schools and businesses over the next 10 years. The domestic fibre will stoke user demand for video and other broadwidth-intensive content, much of which is hosted offshore.

"The government building five-lane super fibre highway, but it's pointless when New Zealand has single dirt road for international connection," Mr Rushworth told NBR.

"That's a big problem when 85% of our content comes from the US."

Future on hold
The Commerce Commission initially said it could not afford the $10,000 to $20,000 cost it estimated for webcasting its Future Broadband conference, starting today in Auckland. But in the final event, the watchdog appears to have found the funds. The event is being webcast here.

However,  NBR and others have found that video is not in fact streaming. So far, the future is on hold. [UPDATE 11am: the live stream is now working.]

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48 Comments & Questions

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Telecom wont listen to the people who actually pay its bills, why should they listen to or care about Mr Fry?

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Be a kiwi, be content and grateful! Because the world's a scary scary place, and our slice of heaven is as good as it gets, am I right guys? guy??

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:)
New Zealanders are very ungrateful. Seriously, people in China believe they live a better life than people in NZ do, by about 10 countries.

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what ever you do, dont tell him about 'our crap roads , with pot holes and single file'.
lets hope he doesnt experience the Hamilton expressway, or numerous other examples.

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what ever you do, dont show him our crap roads with pot holes and single file. Hamilton 'express way' for eg.

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Yes, SH1 Total rubbish, I almost wrote a bad word then

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Paul Brislen: 5Mbits? WTF is getting 5MBits now even? Get real. Our broadband is super-slow and disgusting. Telecom and all the players deserve a good bollocking.

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The Rural Broadband Initiative roll out will deliver speeds of up to 5Mbit/s to many rural households.

Given I get 15Mbit/s today, that's hopeless.

The new Minister will decide how to sell off the 700MHz spectrum. Use it for rural broadband delivery and we'll close that gap hugely.

cheers

Paul

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The Rural Broadband Initiative roll out will deliver speeds of up to 5Mbit/s to many rural households.

Given I get 15Mbit/s today, that's hopeless.

The new Minister will decide how to sell off the 700MHz spectrum. Use it for rural broadband delivery and we'll close that gap hugely.

cheers

Paul

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I live in a telecom free house.
I live in Waiheke - and we are too far from the exchange to get their broadband except at the old 56K dialup speed.
Still we have a local supplier - YNet all wireless technology and I have VIOP for a phone.
I use Vodafone for my mobile - though their service and deals are pathetic compared to what they are in the UK and Aus (and they need to take a hard look at themselves)
And l fibre networks are being rolled out in NZ, we have Pacific Fibre to give us extra offshore capacity - Lead by Kiwis who know what it takes.
A good fast internet can solve most of our transport problems - i.e. distributed networked offices for knowledge workers, a growing group in society who don't need to be anywhere in particular - it can solve some of our jobs problems by distributing work to smaller places in NZ (i.e. out of Auckland - say up to Whangarei - the gateway to the north) , it can help with housing shortages - again - out of Auckland.
It can help us build a services industry - out to the world - I have done work in London, Prague, Singapore and Auckland all from my house on Waiheke via YNet.
Yes I do have to travel sometimes but much can be done remotely.
So good on Fry for mentioning this – let’s address it, not within the context of telecom but for all NZ, multiple suppliers with the right resources and people with the enthusiasm , the skills and the desire to use/exploit it.

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Mate, we are all being screwed by a bundle of duopolies. You think we have competition to drive prices down and standards up, but we really do not.

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Think the supermarkets, DB & Lion, etc etc

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just thinking of buying broardband from telstra or orcon i think ill wait to the new pasific line comes in the present providers have always treated us as if there doing us a FAVOUR leting us buy thier product and even demand a contract cantbwait to get shot of em

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Hopefully highspeed fibre is not far away! We've got purple arrows with the word "Fibre" all down the footpaths in our street so must be starting the roll-out for our area soon. Not sure what the cost to get it will be though. Probably eye-wateringly expensive...

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Remind me why it's so important that we are listening to the opinion of one "star" who, let's be honest, likes to voice his opinion over ANY subject via twitter? He obviously hasn't driven on many roads in Chch recently, yet alone tried another Hotel for his Broadband "experience"....

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We are still struggling to get nationwide mobile telephone coverage...drive one hour north of Auckalnd and count how many times Vodafone drops out.

And Mr Fry now wants fast Broadband coverage too--go to the back of the long queue Sir !!

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i prefer the better broadband.

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How insensitive of you Mr Fry, obviously you don’t realise that this is what the second largest city in New Zealand has to deal with after over 10,000 after-shocks and 6 major earthquakes. And we’re very thankful for the broadband we have to be allow us to keep in touch, communicate with the rest of the world and staunchly rebuild.

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couldnt agree more Mr Fry, lack of quality and overpriced - and that is all isp's in this country

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Im prettynsure he is joking

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Thinks are pretty sweet in Palmy. No complaints with Telecom speed or service. Even pointless crap like Youtube works fine. Now the roads......

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We deserve to be ripped off by second class technology because we accepted the Gattung era of profit before customers.

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The speed of home connections in main centres is not too bad in NZ, but the capcity caps and the public Wifi restrictions certainly are. I have travelled to many places in Asia considered third-world, or at least "developing", where fast, free and unlimited connectivy is widely availabe. It is embarrasing for visitors to have to experience slow links with 50MB limits whilst travelling around.

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Of course the real problem is the hobbits in their home country breed like rabbits and now the 60+ million of them have covered every square inch of the country - of course that is good from the perspective of sharing the cost of broadband - but the place is no longer recognisable and so they have to come to sparsely populated NZ to depict hobbit history. This sparsity of population does unfortunately impact telecommunications (and many other things) based on cost per user.

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Fry is a wingeing pom and should just go home. My broadband is DSL2+ and runs like a cut cat.

LIke most tech ignorant, Fry could be suffering from a multitude of different PC and network problems - the problem could even be on the other end of the connection (e.g. the server he was trying to upload to)...

The media has picked up on this story and the inevitable feeding frenzy it has created... how sad that some fact has not crept into the mix

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You underestimate the formidable Mr Fry, at your peril, I would suggest.
The real fact you are missing here is that Telecom has had two overpaid clowns running it for the last decade....a crucial time in telecomms to have the double handicap of Gattung and the Brogue Rogue.
In that time they have consistnetly been bottom of the (sh) IT pile with their customers....for good reason. Gattung even admitted to feeding us BS.
The chickens are still coming home to roost on her sojourn and who knows when we will be shot of the meddlesome Scot. It will need Fyfe....and he would be worth it + the Pope + Billy Graham to fix this mess....even with their slick and over-practised spin doctors.
Put it this way....we'll have fixed the roads before we can repair the damage caused by the overpaid clowns.

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Ah Bertie

It must be hard to be wrong all the time. he blew his data cap. Simple. Maybe he should have checked his facts before whining so much (like yourself). It is nice to know he ate some humble pie and apoligised though.

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From one anon to another I can say that when Mr Fry talks I listen. As for you, best you get back to tiddles the cat.

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Obviously a whining kiwi must be a cousin of whingeing pom. Mate, learn to take criticism, it is not the end of the world.

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Telco companies around the world are dumping uncapped data products as fast as they can. The usual winers and ney sayers can feel free to invest their money in a company that offers uncapped and see how long they last in business, the economics are a disaster.

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Well my work Broadband via Telstra in central Akl can't even download a youtube video without buffering every few seconds - change is on the way - hopefully for the better - you are obviously onto something better than most

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Telecom missing the point. He didn't think twice doing it on a residential line as in the UK you don't have to. You get a decent data allowance without paying the earth.

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New Zealand... Oh, how so very sweetly parochial!

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I'm an expat visiting from the US and less than 4 miles from the Auckland CBD I'm getting 800kbps on my sister's $100/mo plan from Vodaphone. This truly is primitive. No way in the world could I live or work here permanently.

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Yup agree, but Air NZ sucks, so we are all stuck here until flights are cheaper so we can get out of this place, which is also by the way, very racist!

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Good Grief! Get over yourself. Life is what you make it , pal! I lived abroad for 5 years and if you think for one second its bad here, wait till you go overseas. It will be a good wakeup call for ya

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Just listen closely to Telecom's jingle on their latest ads. In promoting their customer service, the singer goes "...we don't have to care...oh no..."

Says it all really.

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Just because he has 4 million followers Telecom immediately looks at a remedy. Telecom YOU SUCK!
We pay top dollars but get terrible service, look at Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Equivalent of NZD$18 gets you fibre connection and download speed of 100 times faster than Telecom, PLUS cable TV. This country is going backwards really.

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What a circus! - someone weighs in and has a winge, suddenly everyone has to say heir $0.05 worth....

Folks its broadband. Go outside and get a fricken life

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Age of technology?

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"I'm an expat visiting from the US and less than 4 miles from the Auckland CBD I'm getting 800kbps on my sister's $100/mo plan from Vodaphone. This truly is primitive. No way in the world could I live or work here permanently."

There is clearly something broken. What steps has she taken to have the issue fixed? What did Vodafone say when she lodged a fault?

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I agree,
if i go over my 40gb cap i have to wait till past midnight after to get it refreshed and get my speed back... can't be done now !!!! Now I know it can be fixed instantly !!

Upload is useless, I work from home sending up to 1GB a day and its painful !!
I know we have fiber to the box 30m from our front door and no sign of fiber to our door..
not forgetting the on tenet had gone down again a weekly occurrence now.
Telecom won't listen to me or anyone else in NZ . also spending so much and a 300mb cap on my mobile phone what a joke... i don't get a lot for my $250pm i spend with telecom... and hardly make a call outside my 200 mobile minutes...
Telecom take this as a Complaint !!! ( you haven't listened to any of the others i have placed) oh yer i don't have millions following my twitter..

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I agree,
if i go over my 40gb cap i have to wait till past midnight after to get it refreshed and get my speed back... can't be done now !!!! Now I know it can be fixed instantly !!

Upload is useless, I work from home sending up to 1GB a day and its painful !!
I know we have fiber to the box 30m from our front door and no sign of fiber to our door..
not forgetting the on tenet had gone down again a weekly occurrence now.
Telecom won't listen to me or anyone else in NZ . also spending so much and a 300mb cap on my mobile phone what a joke... i don't get a lot for my $250pm i spend with telecom... and hardly make a call outside my 200 mobile minutes...
Telecom take this as a Complaint !!! ( you haven't listened to any of the others i have placed) oh yer i don't have millions following my twitter..

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In retrospect it was harldy an apology though. By international standards our DSL is in fact crap. He is probably used to alot better download/upload speeds in the UK. Can't really blame him for getting upset but again he blew the cap and should have checked.

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yawn fricken yawn! He blew the data allowance and got throttled. Perhaps he should have checked to see what the deal was. All I know is that if someone stayed at my place and blew my data allowance, I'd throw them out. Celebrity or no celebrity.

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I wonder how many of the above "I love Telecon" and aren't we just a lucky little country, get paid to dribble the lies.

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So, he blew a cap, why is there a cap? Telecom's solution? Pay more money. So, cost is still an issue.

"Kumar said at the rate the country's broadband is going, in 2015 New Zealand will be two years behind where the US is now."

So, in 3 years, NZ will be 5 years behind, and that's after fibre optic. Might as well be "light years".

BB drops out, slows down [without blowing cap], and is VERY expensive. He's right.

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Exactly why can't some people just accept that our internet sucks in every way shape and form. People that say its excellent must know nothing about other country's BB services. I've read a comment in another article where someone argued that NZ has the best BB because it has data caps? WTF there is no advantages in having data caps.

We are with telecom, we pay $115 a month, we pay maintenance, we get 40GB and our speed is 1.2Mbps. We called faults and they tested the line for about a week then told us the line is fine, we are not prepared to do anything to fix it.
Aha that's why its running like 3 times slower than 2 years ago. In NZ internet gets downgraded over time not upgraded.
Try download something off steam over that, only takes about ~3 days.

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