TelstraClear is defending its decision to introduce a new pricing regime for ISPs that wish to connect with its network, saying it is only a matter of seeking a commercial return on its investments.
ISPs are up in arms over TelstraClear's decision to cease "peering" with other ISPs at the country's two peering exchanges, based in Auckland and Wellington. Typically in New Zealand ISPs and network operators swap traffic from one network to the other without charging an interconnection fee, however TelstraClear says it's now time to begin charging.
"There are several different charging models left over from the Clear and TelstraSaturn days and it's just taken us this long to sort them out," says a TelstraClear spokesman.
The company rejects descriptions of the scheme as "double dipping". Some network operators on the New Zealand Network Operator's Group (NZNOG) have rejected TelstraClear's move, likening it to Peter Jackson being sent a large bill by the movie houses that play Lord of the Rings for wear and tear on the carpet and additional staff employed.
"The cinema operators contact Peter Jackson and say 'Look what you've done; we're going to have to run late night sessions, pay extra staff because your movie is so popular _ you'll have to pay us to put your movie on in our cinemas'," writes one network operator.
However TelstraClear says that's not quite right.
"It's more like someone going to the theatre in Auckland and sitting there in the dark expecting to see Lord of the Rings which is playing in Wellington. Someone's got to pay for the traffic from Wellington to Auckland and all we're doing is saying we're not going to wear the cost any longer".
Telecom's internet and online marketing manager Chris Thompson says Telecom has not announced it would join TelstraClear in charging for what it calls interconnection instead of peering.
However, Telecom has shut down a router at the Wellington internet exchange (WIX) that Thompson says had been wrongly configured.
"It was advertising routes that it shouldn't have been and other ISPs were using those routes, which was perfectly right - that's what should have happened - but which we hadn't intended to advertise."
Thompson says the company won't be re-starting that router and re-establishing the routes as it had before and was reviewing other routers to ensure they weren't also misconfigured.