Ihug and ICONZ: different offerings for different users

Don't expect to see the same products on offer from three different vendors once BCL's network is up and running, say the two latest ISPs to sign up as resellers.

Don't expect to see the same products on offer from three different vendors once BCL's network is up and running, say the two latest ISPs to sign up as resellers.

BCL, which runs a national network of radio transmitters, is upgrading its equipment to handle data traffic. On top of an existing agreement with Telecom, it has signed wholesale agreements with ISPs Ihug and ICONZ.

Both Ihug and ICONZ will try out the BCL service in Taranaki and Southland before launching services commercially at the start of November.

Unlike the Telecom JetStream product, which is a retail service re-sold by ISPs but controlled by Telecom, BCL is simply offering network connectivity. What the ISPs do with it, how they package their retail products and how they bill, are up to them.

ICONZ general manager Sean Weekes says he's been working closely with BCL over the past few months to produce a wholesale product that ICONZ can retail.

"BCL has been very amenable to the changes we've suggested. I'd say the product we're working on now isn't the same as the one it offered in the first place."

ICONZ will test a suite of products during the trial period and will produce its final offering in time to meet a November 1 service launch date.

"We have four companies in Southland ready for the trial. I thought that would be the hard bit, finding companies to trial with, but it's turned out to be the easiest part."

Ihug's general manager for networks and engineering, David Diprose, says BCL has put together a true wholesale model.

"It simply provides the network and we add whatever we want in the way of services. Of course we'll be adding national and international bandwidth to begin with."

Diprose says Ihug's eventual offering will sit above JetStream in the ISP's family of broadband services.

"There's the initial hardware cost, of course, and initially there's a limited area we can offer the service in." Diprose says Ihug will be offering service to both small business and high-end residential customers and hints at future offerings.

"I would like to offer voice at launch but we're not definite on that yet."

ICONZ is also considering a voice option and both companies are mulling over video on demand.

"The network's certainly capable of offering voice services and to a lesser extent video. We'd look at partnering with someone for a video on demand service; there are issues to consider about locating servers and that sort of thing," says Weekes.

Ihug will continue to offer its Ultra satellite service.

"It's just like JetStream--different products appeal to different users for different reasons."

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