Third World broadband standard coming to NZ

An expat is selling dial-up boosting software to the world's poorer countries - and New Zealand

New Zealand’s continued reliance on dial-up internet access is galling to some but for former New Zealander Norm Hosken, it’s a goldmine.

Hosken’s company, OnSpeed Asia, says it is aggressively marketing to Third World nations, countries where broadband isn’t available. New Zealand is on his list.

“We’re talking to governments in South East Asia about boosting dial-up speeds to near-broadband. They’re actively working to bridge the digital divide,” he says.

OnSpeed provides compression technology that helps boost dial-up connections’ capabilities.

“It’s not a new technology but the way we’re delivering it, the dashboard and the control we give users, means it’s turning heads.

“If you consider the rural sector, the backbone of the economy, most of them can’t get broadband via phone lines,” he says.

Wireless services, like BCL’s Extend network, or satellite services both have large start-up costs that many users find off-putting, says Hosken.

“We’re there, offering a simple download that then gives the users a ‘near broadband’ experience. We work with telcos on a revenue sharing model and it costs them the equivalent of $5 a month to deliver the service.”

Hosken says the value OnSpeed delivers is that it gives remote customers a taste of what’s on offer and the opportunity to do better than 56kbit/s.

“And once broadband does become available in their area, they’re already primed, ready to move up to the new speeds, ready to pay more for the service because they realise just what it’s all about.”

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