Snap joins jumbo data cap party with $70 half-terabyte add-on
UPDATE April 19: Internet service provider Snap has a number of competitors in jacking up data caps.
The three-time Tuanz ISP of the Year has introduced as series of add-on plans, including one that, for $70 a month, gives you an extra 550GB (or just over half a terabyte) of data - four times what it used to offer for the same amount of money.
The company is also offering 145GB for $25 and 250GB for $40.
The add-on comes on top of a customer's existing plan (for example, $60 for naked broadband with a 10GB cap).
For an extra $5, Snap offers unlimited downloading for three nights - albeit between 1am and 7am - for three nights.
The new offer is for residential customers on copper/DSL connections. The company says business plans will follow.
NBR is enjoying the sudden price war - or at least data cap war - that has broken out among ISPs as the Crown fibre UFB roll-out begins - and looks forward to the next provider jumping in.
The bad news - at least for those who worry about contention (speeds slowing as traffic intensifies on a local line): terabyte heroes Snap and Orcon, and unlimited offerer CallPlus/Slingshot, trail the field in TrueNet's independent speed tests.
Contention is related to the dial-up like committed information rate (CIR) or guaranteed minimum speed associated with copper DSL connections. UFB fibre connections all have a CIR of at least 2Mbit/s in both directions according to Crown Fibre Holdings' template contract.
Orcon ups ante with 1 terabyte plan
UPDATE April 17: NBR put the question to Orcon: why not just take a Singlshot all-you-can-eat data plan (priced from $60 per month, or $90 on a naked service)?
Orcon's retail general manager Taryn Hamilton (ex iiNet, incidentally) replied:
"An ISP is more than just a data allocation. With Orcon Genius you get a voice line without any POTS [land line phone rental] and no usage restrictions. Apart from the obvious ones covered by New Zealand law."
Orcon is focussed on performance, the GM maintained, while a disclaimer on Slingshot, regarding its unlimited plan, notes "Customers on Broadband UNLIMITED should be aware that due to its users being more likely to maximise the bandwidth allocated to the plan the speeds they experience might be slower than those experienced by someone on one of our capped plans."
Following the lead of its Australian technology partners, iiNet, Orcon has introduced a 1 terabyte or 1000 gigabyte plan - blitzing data caps offered by other top-tier ISPs, which top out between 60GB and 100GB on standard plans (Slingshot does offer unlimited data from $60 per month, but with usage conditions that have annoyed some power users, particularly those who use peer-to-peer services).
The bad news: it costs $199 a month, including VoIP service.
A step-down plan offers 200GB for $99.
A 60GB plan costs $89.
The new plans launch April 23.
Still, in a land where all-you-can-eat internet is all but non-existent, (a Statistics NZ survey of ISPs last year found 99% of customers were on capped plans), the increased data allowance could be seen as a step in the right direction.
Most New Zealanders are still on 20GB or lower plans, but with fast growth in the 20GB+ and 50GB+ cateogories - no surprise when watching a couple of HD downloaded movies can account for 5GB in a single evening.
The new 1 terabye download plans also recalls comments by visiting executives form popular US service in November, who rejected a local launch on the basis that New Zealand broadband is dominated by small, capped data plans.
NetFlix VP Netflix VP Brent Ayrey told media his average US customer would require 1000GB a month within a year (alas for those who like competition there's also a second problem - Sky's monopoly on most content, and its restrictive contracts with ISP partners).
The next step up from a 1 terabyte plan is unlimited data.
A recent TelstraClear all-you-can eat weekend promotion had mixed results, with some users enjoying the unfettered downloads, and others complaining the network was so jammed as to be unusable at times.
The new plan is for Orcon customers on the company's copper DSL service.
Those who sign up to the company's recently announced fibre UFB service (which has a handful of pilot customers ahead of its wider launch mid-year) already have the option of a 1000GB plan, also priced at $199.