Computerworld's article about Telecom limiting upstream speeds on business broadband plans ("Businesses must wait for better upstream speeds", Networking & Telecomms In Depth, June 20) struck a chord with readers.
The story dealt with the issue of the upload speed on business plans being limited to 128kbit/s. While Telecom sells faster plans — the so-called full speed JetStream with a download speed of more than 2Mbit/s and an upload of around 600kbit/s — the cost is prohibitive for many businesses.
As Computerworld reported, Telecom's full speed plans include a 10GB per month plan for $905.78 and a 30GB per month plan for $2,417.78.
Most readers who contacted Computerworld did not want to be identified, saying they still had to buy services from Telecom and did not want to colour that relationship. They were keen, however, to dispute Telecom's suggestion that faster upstream speeds aren't important to most New Zealand businesses.
"I am a New Zealander involved in a business that supplies hosted solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, and we have clients from the UK, Australia and New Zealand," one reader wrote. "When considering New Zealand as a target market it was almost impossible to offer our services due to the high costs incurred using JetStream."
The reader points out that business requirements for broadband go far beyond "surfing the net and getting email" and says the lack of services available for business is a major limiting factor.
Another reader — a long-time JetStream user — is looking to move to a new provider, if he can find one.
"It’s convenient for Telecom to say there’s no demand but I just think that statement is simply untrue. Cost has forced me to move from the old 600kbit/s upstream service and 128kbit/s is less than one-quarter of that speed. Quite frankly, JetStream is a worse service now than when it was first introduced."
Another reader says Telecom is lagging behind in providing full functionality to business users.
"We have multiple VPN users who also need better upstream speeds. We host our own data-driven website that also needs better upstream speeds.
"The UK is changing to SDSL as soon as possible, so what is taking Telecom so long to recognise the need over here? We will be changing to Telstra any day now since we are in Christchurch and have access to the cable network."
The need for faster upload speeds goes beyond the obvious business market as well. One reader, who has recently returned to university to further his studies, has found the need for greater upload capacity is as great among academics as it is in the private business sector.
"As a IT student I frequently transfer large files to and from my tertiary institute to do work on, and find that although the receiving of files at my end is not a major problem, the sending of them is just plain ridiculous."
Both the Minister of Communications, David Cunliffe, and the Telecommunications Commissioner, Douglas Webb, have noted the problems associated with the slow upload speed. Cunliffe has said he will be addressing the issue with his ongoing review of the Telecommunications Act.
Readers were unanimously critical of Telecom's broadband plans. One reader wrote: "Telecom needs to get their act together and raise the upload rate across all of their offerings, including UBS accounts, and quit thinking that they doing us a favour, and start acting like the innovative company that they supposedly are."