The internet is not a truck

It's a series of tubes

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- The internet is not a truck. It’s a series of tubes.

- Landline-lessness lures…

- Ebay versus Google


- YouTube video

The internet is not a truck. It’s a series of tubes.

And children take infra-red photos of each other while our MPs search for the on-off buttons.

- Public Knowledge: audio recording of Republican Senator Ted Stevens’ speech on network neutrality

- Wired: Transcript of Stevens’ speech

-Te Ururoa Flavell: Telecommunications Amendment Bill

Landline-lessness lures…

Flavell is right though: Kiwis pay way too much for basic telecommunications services. Despite Telecom’s claims that it has become cheaper to cater for your communications needs, I haven’t seen much reduction in my phone bills. I’m running a small business with two people, but it’s not like we’re using the services much. While I’ve tried to work through Telecom Theresa’s Confusing Communications Plans, picking the options I think would save money, the cost of having a landline, DSL and two mobiles really added up. I added up the fixed charges for the lot:

$39.85 – Home Business Anytime

$ 2.53 – Wire Maintenance Contract

$59.95 – Jetstream Plus

$20.00 – 2 x Freedom subscriptions

$20.00 – Mytime Go 100

$11.25 - Mobile Broadband Flexi

$39.38 – Mobile Broadband 50

That’s a total of $192.96 just in fixed charges each month, before paying for calls. OK, they can mostly be offset as a business expense, but it’s still a good chunk’o’change every month. Time to rationalise, in other words. First to go: the 2M/192kbps DSL with 10GB data cap that I’ve been using as a backup for Wired Country. Can’t use it for anything much apart from downloading stuff though and being throttled down to 64kbit/s some months after just eight days of use, well … that’s not worth $60 a month. Telecom wants to slash the upstream to 128k for me, while “upgrading” the downstream to 3.5Mbit/s which very few people get, making the DSL even less attractive. I was going to keep it for testing ADSL2+, but Telecom seems to have pushed that so far into the future that it’ll be cheaper for me to get a new line if and when it happens.

Now the landline. We make very few local calls over it because Skype and iTalk are much cheaper. It’s nice to have as a backup, but $40 a month is a lot again for a service that’s really only there to provide a signal for the DSL. And anyway, OBEP (our beloved editor Paul) and former Herald IT editor, Chris Barton, ditched their landlines ages ago and haven’t regretted it.

Will have to think some more about what to do with the mobiles though, and shop around for some better deals there. Looking at the bills I have, the highest calling rate item is for the mobiles. Most of the calls are short “please use the iTalk line instead” messages, or SMS texts because $1.39/minute charging starts to hurt fast.

We’ll see how it goes, but I’m hoping the exercise will save me a bundle. Will report back, if I can of course. Meanwhile, I note with considerable interest that Telecom’s Australian operation is again doing the opposite of the mothership, namely trying to provide customers with good value solutions.

- Chris Barton: How Telecom is losing battle for customers' hearts and minds

- AAPT turns to VoIP for SME cash

Ebay versus Google

Last week, Google launched its Checkout payments service for online shopping, a “PayPal Killer” basically. It didn’t take Ebay long however to strike back. The online auction giant has now banned Google Checkout payments for auctions, saying the newcomer doesn’t have a proven track record of safe transactions.

It’s not really surprising that Ebay looks after its own, namely PayPay, but it’s a taste of things to come I think. Ebay has almost a global monopoly on online auctions, so the fact that it is extending this to payments processing should raise a few regulatory eyebrows.

- Reuters: EBay changes execs at PayPal, Skype in shakeup

- Paul Stamatiou: eBay Slams Google

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