FryUp: Telco Regime takes shape, Special Conditions Apply, Domainz

Top Stories: - New telco regime bites - When doesn't spam breach terms and conditions? - Ah, Domainz...

Top Stories:

- New telco regime bites

- When doesn't spam breach terms and conditions?

- Ah, Domainz...

- New telco regime bites

And so round one of the new regime is officially game on, with the ref on the field and fighters in their respective corners and any number of metaphors mixed, not stirred.

The new regime hadn't been tested out, taken for a spin, had its tyres kicked (I'll stop now) until Telecom and TelstraClear announced they'd reached an impasse on their interconnection negotiations. Both called on the untried telecommunications commissioner and finally a draft resolution on the interconnection row has been released.

Interconnection is a tricky business because basically you're deciding how one company is allowed to use another company's assets. Telecom owns the local loop, it paid money for it, it has the ownership papers in a draw somewhere in Wellington (or perhaps Sydney) and it can decide who gets to use it and what it will cost, right?

Well, almost. When we sold the local loop for three magic beans back in 1990 there were various conditions attached, not least of which was the idea that Telecom would allow other telcos access to the local loop (implied if not spelled out by the Kiwi Share provision at the time). Well, if you give something away you don't get to control it, do you, and Telecom has been playing hardball over access to the loop for some time, charging what it says is a reasonable amount but which the other telcos, and now the telco commissioner, think is too much.

What does this mean? The draft report outlines the commissioner's thinking on the pricing structure, on the various methodologies used for working out who pays what for what and so on. Now everyone gets to comment on the report before the commissioner comes up with a final binding report.

Best news - the commissioner says instead of charging 2.6 cents a minute to connect to its network, Telecom should only be charging between 1.21 and 1.42 cents a minute - still high by international standards but around half the rate at the moment.

What does that mean for we phone users? Who knows. The other telcos would be hard-pressed not to pass on such savings if they do eventuate, so that would be good, but it's anyone's game at this stage.

The commissioner has delayed his final report - he had a 50-working day deadline but won't meet it. This isn't as bad as it first seems - this is the first ruling he's handed down, it's a highly complex area and if he gets it right there won't be any mucking about going to court to challenge it. Any legal challenge won't stop the ruling taking effect, but would be a black mark on the regime's effectiveness none the less.

Check out the actual ruling yourself at the Commerce Commission's site (see below) if you're a daredevil and keen to learn all about bill and keep or the TSLRIC methodology.

Final decision on interconnection delayed - IDGNet

Telecom investors shrug off fees red flag - NZ Herald

Watchdog chews into telco fees - NZ Herald

- When doesn't spam breach terms and conditions?

It seems straight forward when you read Orcon's terms and conditions. The ISP has it clearly spelled out: "Users are not permitted to send multiple unsolicited email (Spam) to single or multiple users including, but not limited to, advertising email".

So what happens when a customer's customer sends spam? Who's responsible for getting them to stop?

And what happens when that customer, Cashevolution, has been listed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs as a company that is "at risk of being [a] pyramid selling scheme"?

What happens is that spam, or rather the blame for spam, rolls down hill.

Orcon says it can't do anything because it's not its customer doing the spamming but it will have words with Cashevolution.

Cashevolution says it isn't doing the spamming and blames some rogue affiliates. It points to the statement on most of its web pages that says spamming is a no-no that will result in affiliates being cut off. Apparently that's what's happened here - someone hasn't read the terms and conditions of their affiliate-ship properly and is about to get pulled up short.

This isn't the first time Orcon's landed in such murky waters. One of its other customers, another ISP called Strongnet, spammed a number of customers from then-ailing ISP Asia Online. Strongnet was suspended from Domainz for its troubles and made to apologise.

There was some discussion as to whether Domainz retracted the suspension and in turn apologised to Strongnet, but Orcon can't provide proof of that and Domainz says it never happened, so that seems to be a red herring.

But come on, if you've got terms and conditions and someone breaches them, you have to act, don't you? Otherwise, what's the point of even having terms and conditions?

Customer spamming lands Orcon in hot water – again - IDGNet

Ministry of Consumer Affairs - pyramid scheme warning page

And a couple of stories from last October about the Strongnet incident.

Asia Online customers courted - IDGNet

Domainz suspends ISP over e_mail bid to poach clients - NZ Herald

- Ah, Domainz...

Back in March we wrote about InternetNZ members voting overwhelmingly for .maori.nz to proceed as a new second level domain (2LD). Yesterday the name went live and anyone wanting to register a name using the new 2LD was supposed to be able to log on to the Domainz website or use the Domainz email template to register new names.

Sadly, as they say, it was not meant to be.

Domainz has had to stop accepting new .maori.nz names while it sorts out "teething problems" that have meant neither the email template nor the Domainz website is working for .maori.nz names.

Since Domainz works on a strictly unmoderated first-come first-served basis, this meant that some folk were able to log on and buy a name, but others are too late. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.

More amusingly, one particular name, a.maori.nz, was bought by two people at the same time - one was registered as the "name server administrator" and the other registered as "name holder representative". A brief tussle ensued before the "name holder representative" realised he had authority to change the details for the "name server administrator" and did so, locking the name in as his own.

Fortunately the two combatants are a friendly pair and neither possesses an in-house legal team who could probably have taken the whole thing through the courts, dragging the circus into town for months to come.

Still, it seems slack that the system would allow two people to register the domain name at the exact same time, although Domainz chief Derek Locke says it's a rare event, triggered only by new 2LDs and the like.

Later this year Domainz will relinquish its grip on the register and any registrar will be able to register a name for any registrant (I think) under the shared registry system (SRS). This could be a good thing but only if they change some of the names - perhaps Shirley would be a good choice for at least one of them.

The society formerly known as the Internet Society of New Zealand, now InternetNZ, has called for a moratorium on new 2LDs until it's reviewed the whole process later this year - although it did allow one final new 2LD to be submitted. You may soon be able to fight over .geek.nz names.

Meanwhile, over at the New Zealand Maori Internet Society, the new interim chair has resigned suddenly and a new chair been appointed. It's good to see such traditions continue and I'm hopeful we can look forward to many years of entertaining copy from this new entrant in the internet society space. Welcome aboard!

Teething trouble with .maori.nz - IDGNet

New personnel at Maori Internet Society - IDGNet

InternetNZ declares moratorium on new 2LDs - IDGNet

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