Undaunted ISP offers another unlimited data weekend

Snap Internet - which suffered downstream congestion that coincided with TelstraClear's all-you-can-eat weekend - is staging its own limitless data fest from Friday evening to Monday morning.

Despite trouble with “an upstream provider” during TelstraClear’s limitless data weekend, Snap Internet will hold a similar all-you-can-eat data fest between Friday and Monday.

Snap will offer its residential customers unlimited data this weekend, from 8pm Friday to 8am Monday.

On the face of things, it seems a brave move, given TelstraClear’s issues with its all-you-can-eat promotion last weekend, which slowed DSL customers’ speed by up to 40%, and cable customers by up to 64% (and at some points congestion was such that speed tests couldn’t be carried out).

Upstream congestion
Over the weekend of TelstraClear’s promotion, some Snap Internet customers also complained about slow connections.

Geekzone chatter pinned the problem on Snap’s international bandwidth provider, Telstra (parent company of TelstraClear).

Snap CEO Mark Petrie confirmed to NBR that there was an issue.

“Snap did experience bandwidth issues last weekend. We believe it was caused by upstream congestion, Mr Petrie said.

“We believe this also caused disruption to other ISPs, too. Snap managed this issue and although it did have an impact on some broadband users, we were able to take steps to ensure that the impact was minimal by using alternate carrier paths.”

Asked to confirm if the upstream provider was TelstraClear or Telstra (whose Reach subsidiary wholesales international bandwidth), Mr Petrie offered only, “Sorry, can’t comment.”

A spokesman for TelstraClear said the company experienced no technical issues.

Third time around
The Snap boss said there had been no technical problems during previous all-you-can-eat promotions.

“We are not nervous at all,” Mr Petrie said.

“Snap has successfully provided two successful free weekends [both in July] with very positive customer feedback.

“However, in saying this we will be monitoring the network extra carefully as the load during our free weekends is significant. Snap builds its networks to supply high availability medical facilities, high usage tertiary institutions and high end Fibre customers so are more than confident our network can cope.”

Christchurch Snap customer Layton Duncan – a heavy internet user – told NBR, “From memory, speed and latency didn't seem out of the ordinary. If it was, it wasn't very perceptible, not like last weekend.”

Tighter rein
It will help that while Telstraclear has around 200,000 customers, Snap - a three-time Telecommunications Users Association (Tuanz) ISP of the Year - has a smaller number of users (it declined to supply a  figure).

And while TelstraClear allowed both DSL (copper) and hybrid cable customers unfettered downloads, Snap is restricting its promotion to DSL customers (like TelstraClear, the promotion is for residential customers only).

Mr Petrie said his company – which recently won a contract to supply customers on the government’s high bandwidth Karen network - had the chops to support an unlimited data weekend.

“Snap has invested a significant amount in its network during the past few years with a major Juniper core upgrade supported by Juniper and NEC (along with a team of very Snap skilled engineers) Snap’s NOC is a 24/7 manned operation running out of Christchurch at our purpose built Co-Location facility.  However our core is distributed across New Zealand with major points of presence throughout the main centres.”

Juniper MX480 and Juniper E120 platforms are used for Snap’s core routing and broadband aggregation, Mr Petrie said.

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