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I'm down with the Giganaire

Throw blocks of cheese at me if you must, but I'm down with The Giganaire.

Telecom's new ad makes me smile, despite myself. (While I agree with their sentiment, attack ads by other ISPs get wearying. Orcon's attempt at humour with Dotcom, especially, was strangely mordant where it was supposed to be droll. I wonder if, on one level, the Giganaire is a sly dig at the giant German.)

And, whatever you think of The Giganaire's rapping skills, it's a huge positive that our largest ISP (Telecom holds around 50% of the market) is moving to embrace all-you-can-eat internet.

Some might want to give it a little while before signing up or upgrading, to see how things shake out. After all, Telecom has had two misfires in this area before (the very public Go Large flame-out and the the lower profile, quietly-shelved Big Time).

And it's worth noting that Telecom will manage data, with peer-to-peer file downloaders getting throttled, if need be, to ensure decent performance for others.

But on the whole, the market shift to unlimited plans from Telecom, Vodafone, Slingshot, Orcon and others is hugely welcome. We're finally catching up with the rest of the world, as measured by the OECD (if, ironically, at a time when an increasing number of US users are getting capped — albeit at a far higher level than NZ).

The Giganaire has copped flak for being a "racist" parody of hip-hop culture. Telecom COO Jason Paris says it makes fun of middle-aged dads trying to be cool. As an uncool dad who nods his head along to the rap, I'm inclined to agree with Paris.

It's a hugely positive trend that the naked (broadband with no home line) plans offered by Telecom's new budget brand, Big Pipe, are now filtering through to its mainstream service.

If you're willing to have your mobile with Telecom or Vodafone too, both are now offering some great naked unlimited plans (if only the naked element would apply to fibre as well as ADSL and VDSL copper broadband — VDSL can be killer, but unlike fibre it's bandwidth degrades sharply the further you are from the nearest phone exchange or cabinet. It's also much more susceptible to contention, or peak-time sluggishness, than fibre).

Vodafone, for example, is offering unlimited VDSL for $79 a month (for those who also have an on-account mobile). Deals like that must make 2degrees think, "Should be hurry up and buy Orcon?".

In an age of cloud computing at work and home, and on-demand broadband viewing, it makes a lot of sense to differentiate plans by speed, rather than the amount of data used each month.

In Telecom's case, there's no doubt a degree of positioning itself ahead of the launch of its broadband movie and TV service (formerly called ShowMeTV), which will be available to customers of all ISPs. It just wouldn't have been a good look to have Vodafone, CallPlus and Slingshot uncapped customers able to watch ShowMeTV without worries, while Telecom customers had to constantly check their data limit.

Telecom's new unlimited broadband plans start at $99 for ADSL copper broadband users (the price point established by rivals CallPlus and Orcon). An unlimited data UFB plan costs from $109 to $139 (faster plans cost more); an unlimited data VDSL plan $119.

Slingshot says Telecom and Vodafone's move into unlimited plans has prompted it to cut its own entry-level broadband plan from $99 to $89. The deals keep coming.

We're still living in a less-than-perfect broadband world, of course. 

I'm one of many urban dwellers whose home is out of reach of VDSL, and whose suburb has no starting date for UFB fibre.

And Chorus needs to hurry up and move its 200Mbit/s UFB pilot to a commercial release phase — at least if it has any interest in preventing VDSL update from retarding the fibre rollout, as Vodafone fears.

Still, as someone who uses cloud software almost exclusively for work (including working from home), and Apple TV for a lot of his viewing, I'm loving the market move toward unlimited plans.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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Comments and questions
5

Nice one Chris. I agree, the Giganaire ad is well positioned and it's beautifully single-minded in approach. It's also catchy and funny :).

Regarding UFB, our house has been on it for about 15 months through a local retailer. (Fibre was outside our door, but unable to be connected for a year before that,) Apparently both Vodafone and Telecom have not signed agreements with the provider here (UFF/WEL Hamilton) and have no idea when either. Unbelievable...and doesn't seem to be customer focused either.

The benefit of having one of those two come onboard here is we can have all our services with the one company and realise greater deals. I note Trustpower are making inroads here and provide further discounts if get power through them too. We might have to look at them instead.

Hi Will,

I'm frustrated with the time it's taken the UFB to reach my part of Auckland. I'd say the current political/regulatory/financial mess with Chorus has delayed it further (it probably has) but there was no set date to begin with.

My hope is that the recent upsurge in unlimited data plans for home and business will help fuel the likes of ondemand viewing, online file sharing an backup, and cloud computing - which in turn will hopefully spark grass roots demand for a faster fibre rollout, and better uptake.

Its been positive to see a couple of new players are in the market, and Singapore-based fibre-only ISP MyRepublic is due to launch in NZ next months (it's been hiring people and has set up an office just up the road from NBR in Auckland).

It's also been good to see Telecom moving beyond the Chorus UFB universe with its new reseller agreement with Northpower Fibre on April 14.

CK

Try living in "low" decile area. I doubt we'll be offered UFB any time this decade, despite being relatively central.

Nah, the ad is silly and annoying - and it goes on way too long every single time.

Well done Telecom. Take some risks and have a go. This one has worked out well.