TVNZ has denied rumours it plans to get into Internet access - but it is planning to offer free email addresses via its NZoom portal.
"People prop us with [access ideas] all the time but right now it doesn't look like somewhere people are making any money," says NZoom general manager Simon Aimer. "It's actually working out very nicely being access-independent."
But the broadcaster recently registered a batch of domain names - hisplace.co.nz, herplace.co.nz, theirplace.co.nz and atitagain.co.nz - which will probably be used in a free Web mail offering to be hosted by NZoom's partner, Snap.com.
Whilst insisting that "free access is not a space we want to be in", Aimer has been happy to work with i4free, to the extent that the i4free set-up software installs NZoom as default home page in customer browsers.
"I told [i4free's] Paul Meier that to look like a professional online offering, they should have a content-rich home page environment and we'd be more than happy to co-operate with them to do it," says Aimer. "We've said we'll work with them to bespoke something up for them."
NZoom is also encouraging other ISPs seeking content for their own customers to use its new headlines. EzySurf and Paradise.Net have already taken advantage of a script available on the NZoom site that lets third parties take the regularly-updated headlines.
Aimer agrees that the idea is similar to that pioneered by the Internet news site 7am.com, "but it's a little different - because it is our content. We do actually own this news."
Meanwhile, TVNZ, with an eye on Sky's looming dominance of digital TV distribution, has filed a submission to the ministerial inquiry into telecommunications urging that the regulation of the local loop should include the "broadcasting local loop".
The submission argues that there are more "potential points of bottleneck" in the emerging digital market than in the old analogue market.
The state broadcaster argues that "a similar conceptual framework" be used for both broadcasting and telecommunications. It says set-top boxes, conditional access systems, electronic programme guides and relevant APIs should be considered part of the local loop.
TVNZ says the new regime will require "an informed and well-researched regulatory office", but says this role could be either independent or part of the Commerce Commission.
The submission and others have been posted in PDF format on the inquiry Website at: http://www.teleinquiry.govt.nz