The $100K connection: Dotcom mansion gets fibre

Orcon arrives for the re-connect
"Creating the cloud storage future"

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

Most of us are still waiting for Crown fibre – and many aren't willing to pay for it when it arrives.

So far, by Orcon's count, there are only around 200 home users hooked up to the Ultrafast Broadband roll out, backed by $1.35 billion from taxpayers.

But one New Zealand resident did not wait around, spending north of $100,000 to get fibre laid up his country lane to his door.

Who? Kim Dotcom, of course.

On Wednesday, the giant German posted an Instagram pic of an Orcon car outside his $30 million rented mansion with the caption: "Having a great day. @Orcon just arrived. Reconnecting my 100mbit fibre."

"Reconnect" is the operative word here. 

During his initial bail period, Dotcom was forbidden access to the internet.

But that still begs the question: how did he get fibre way out in Coatesville?

The UFB rollout so far doesn't reach the semi-rural Auckland suburb, and never will.

However, according to the government's National Broadband Map, a spur of Chorus fibre runs near Dotcom mansion – and a spokesman for the Telecom spin-off confirmed: "It’s our fibre network which we’ve extended for Orcon."

Orcon refused comment, citing customer privacy.

Dotcom Mansion falls within one of zones covered by the government-subsidised Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), a $300 million tender won last year by a joint bid from Chorus (handling) and Vodafone (cellullar).

But Kim's fibre predates project (which, in any case, is about connecting schools and fibre cabinets).

After he moved into Dotcom mansion in 2009 the alleged internet pirate had fibre laid to his door in a project managed by Gen-i.

Gen-i also declined to confirm if Dotcom was a client, or otherwise comment, citing customer privacy, but Dotcom confirmed to NBR ONLINE that the Telecom IT and telco services division handled the work.

Click to enlarge.  The government's National Broadband Map shows a loop of Chorus fibre (in blue), with a standalone spur running off the main road, for a good kilometre, to Dotcom Mansion.

The fibre would have cost a pretty penny – at least outside the the Crown-sponsored UFB and RBI.

One reader told NBR he asked Vector for a quote to get fibre down his right-of-way in suburban Milford. He was told $20,000.

The government's National Broadband Map shows a loop of Chorus fibre (in blue) tracing the route of main roads.

A standalone spur of fibre runs off the main road, for a good kilometre, up a lane to Dotcom Mansion. That custom diversion would have cost a lot more than one right-of-way.

"I don't remember how much it was exactly to get the fibre laid – but it was six figures," Dotcom told NBR.

Doing the trick
Anyhow, the fibre seems to be doing the trick.

Dotcom posted a picture of a Speedtest.net result from an iPhone – presumably connected to his home network via wi-fi. 

It showed a robust but not exceptional download speed of 19.32Mbit/s (most copper/DSL connections top out under 10Mbit/s, although some get into 15Mbit/s territory.

According to tests by members of Mac Rumours, much faster speeds can be obtained ay an iPhone 4S connected to wi-fi).

Upload speed is a more impressive 17.27Mbit/s (by comparison, most DSL connections are speed-limited to 1Mbit/s or under).

And the ping is a mere 11 milliseconds – twice as good as a tip-top DSL connection. Kim should appreciate the lag-free online gaming.

Beyond Call of Duty, how will Dotcom use his fibre?

Another pic in the alleged internet pirate's Instagram feed (right) is captioned "Creating the Cloud Storage future • NOW!" – a reference to his planned Megabox service.

Orcon (a division of state-owned Kordia) last week launched a promotion for free fibre until the end of the year.

In March, Kim Dotcom was granted access to a bank account and government bond interest for a living allowance of around $60,000 a month.

Orcon's top-speed fibre plan costs from $234 a month but is currently on special for $159. 

"Fortunately, Orcon has given me a very good re-connection deal for a reasonable monthly fee," Dotcom said.

Even with a discount, a 100Mbit/s (that is, full speed) fibre account would be pricey by the standards of your average home broadband– but not in the context of the Dotcoms' phone bill.

According Crown Prosecutor Anne Toohey, the couple spend  $5000 a month on landline phone costs.

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16 Comments & Questions

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Orcon is effectively an SOE. This should go down well with the US Government.

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Attractive as the Orcon deal sounds, I wouldn't take it on principle. There is absolutely no need, or justification, for the Government to be in the ISP business. It should be left to the private sector.

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Maybe the government is lining it up for a lucrative sale?

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Have to agree with you Lindsay. And their parent company (owned by NZ Govt) also builds mobile base stations in Australia??

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Where's the story?

Isn't the real story about NZ, not some individual. Maybe that NZ telco's and ISPs that refer to "Broadband" would breach the Fair Trading Act if we used what people in developed countries actually know as broadband as the comparator. Both as to speeds (must faster) and data caps (none). Ditto mobile calling and data.

Or is the story that faster speeds and no caps really will benefit business and the NZ economy, so let's bring it on. Kim Dotcom knows that already, and is not prepared to wait for us to catch up to last decade. Good on him.

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"And the ping is a mere 11 milliseconds – twice as good as a tip-top DSL connection. Kim should appreciate the lag-free online gaming."

My Snap DSL connection gets 12ms *average* ping to trademe.co.nz There is no latency improvement with fibre vs. copper, it's only bandwidth that improves (assuming good backhaul).

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Not true. DSL with interleaving on (generally the default) is on order of ~20ms latency, interleaving off might get it down to ~12ms, fibre is generally on order of 2-3ms.

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Nice work. We've had fibre outside our property since October last year. The local UFF company in our region states on their website all services are available for us. Part way through the sign up process we're told: "Sorry, the cabinet for your area needs to be upgraded." Oh...when? "2016 some time." W T F!!! This is complete BS and shows what a shambles it is companies dealing with the Crown on this rollout. Muppets.

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How will Orcon's traffic shaper cope with 100Mbps of VPN traffic?

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$100k investment + $234/mth for19Mbs/17Mbs (and presumably test results to Orcons own server)... Ummm... I would have kept my eye out for some other options.

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Less than 2km from the centre of the CBD, and even less from the exchange, yet according to the UFB website, no chance of a faster broadband connection this side of 2014, if then. Not impressive.

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The government's UFB rollout is a ten year plan. Stop whinging because you can't get it by the end of year-one. If you want priority, pay for it like Dotcom did! Otherwise, cut the whinge and wait like the rest of us.

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Is this article trying to blame the gunshop owner for selling a gun to someone who is legally entitled to buy one? Good luck with that. Maybe you should run a article on his supermarket selling him food too.

-KENT

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kick that fat schnitzel sucker out I'm sick of hearing about him. Whats next CK? Oh I know "Breaking news: Kim Dot Com takes a dump"

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With Telecom in the hands of US shareholders, looking only for profits and not maintaining local infrastructure, we have no one to blame but ourselves (and Roger Douglas). Did I hear Orcon was for sale?

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Well well, I am surprised dotcom could afford this out of the miserable living allowance accorded him by the courts. Probably had to forego cup cakes for a good while?

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