TelstraClear and Commissioner Webb
TelstraSaturn is now officially TelstraClear which is lovely. Of course, we don't yet know what will happen to all those duplicate staff the company now has, although some will inevitably be for the chop. How many and when are questions still to be answered.
What will this mean for the New Zealand telecommunications market? Potentially not a lot. TelstraClear will compete with Telecom nose to nose for the corporate market but will probably avoid the rest of us like the plague. Sure, ClearNet and Paradise both have dial-up for the consumer but beyond Wellington's walled garden (TelstraClear's fibre loop) there's not a lot of broadband activity in the consumer market.
However, there's another wrinkle to the tale the new telecommunications commissioner has been appointed, oddly before the legislation that creates his job is even enacted.
Douglas Webb is our man and although I'm sure he wasn't chosen for his name, I'm fairly certain Paul Swain does have a sense of humour.
Certainly, Webb is a very sound political choice. Currently the managing counsel at the World Bank, Webb is an expatriate New Zealander living in Washington DC who wants to come home. He has decades of experience in the world of regulatory environments and knows the Wellington scene intimately having been a partner at law firm Rudd Watts and Stone for 16 years. Did I mention he's also worked for the Asian Development Bank?
Most interestingly, Webb was on the team put together by Clear Communications to negotiate the first interconnection agreement with Telecom back in 1991, so he's got the inside running on the games telcos can play.
We should wish Webb the best of luck everyone I've spoken to has used the same phrase to describe the job: meat in the sandwich. He's going to have to hit the ground running and will have to build up a team that can cope with the intense pressure that will no doubt be brought to bear. Webb has signed on for five years and he starts his new role in March next year.
Also, spare a thought for poor Michael Wilson who has only recently mastered the switch from "Telstra Business" to "TelstraSaturn Business" and will now presumably need something of a lie down. Our thoughts are with you, Michael.
JetStart, JetStream and JetStop
Telecom and its ISP Xtra have had a rough week of it when it comes to the DSL family of products.
JetStream has been plagued by a series of micro-outages that make it next to impossible to do anything but surf the net at high speed. What else is there, you might ask? Well, how about connecting business units together to form a virtual private network? Telecom now says you can't do that with JetStream and if that's what you're after you have to upgrade your connection to a service called IP.Networking which has certain quality assurance built in.
Now, however, the three main centres have seen outages that affect even JetStream's ability to connect to the internet.
On top of that, Xtra has announced it will be contacting users who run servers over their JetStart connections.
JetStart is the unlimited download service that uses a slower version of JetStream. Customers are prohibited from running a server over the connection but many are subscribers to some kind of file sharing service, like KaZaA or Morpheus, which allow peer-to-peer file sharing for things like movies and music.
Users share files directly between each other and as one unlucky punter found out the hard way, signing up for the service generally means other people can come to your PC and copy files from you, effectively turning your PC into a server. That's in breach of the terms and conditions on Xtra's JetStart page and Xtra blames this practice for some of the problems end users have been experiencing with JetStart. Complaints have been coming in thick and fast about JetStart running no faster, and in some cases a lot slower, than a standard dial-up connection.
All told it's been a tricky few months for Telecom on this issue and the new year probably won't change that. User uptake of DSL products continues apace with around 300% growth year on year. There are currently over 26,000 users on DSL connections with Telecom and the need for bandwidth is driving users to these more expensive solutions. With additional users come additional pressures and Telecom must be hearing their cries if not feeling their pain.
All this is far from over.
DSL download dispute settled - IDGNet
Ah, the FryUp
Well. Wasn't that exciting? The observant among you will have noticed the FryUp was several days out of whack. This was not an eddy in the space time continuum (altogether now: "is he?") but a simple glitch in the new and vastly improved system we're using.
Never fear this week's will be flawless in its execution. If you're reading this on Tuesday or in June, that's your fault. Honestly.
On that note, I may have inadvertently put the rat among the pigeons with my comments about HTML in the newsletter. This is purely a voluntary thing if your email application cannot cope with HTML or your firewall blocks such beasties, you can opt to receive plain text and that's fine with us. You'll all have received an email asking you to update your subscription (or prescription, I can never remember which) and that will automatically assess whether your email will cope with a webpage FryUp or not (whether you can cope is, of course, another matter and one that's entirely subjective). Feel free to dabble with it and then return to the text-based bosom if you wish. The choice is entirely yours.
As for the content, fear not. They couldn't shut me up if they tried (and believe me, the Christmas party is on today and they will try) so the content will remain pretty much the same. Static even. Some would say stale.
This is the last FryUp for 2001 that most futuristic of years. Honestly, I never really realised that once we got to the future it would still have buses and elevator music. Arthur never warned us about that now, did he?
So while 2001 looked remarkably like 2000, and indeed was quite similar to 1979, I feel, 2002 promises to be bright and shining and avant garde. Really it does.
So in the spirit of rest and recuperation I will point you all to this site:
Do take on board the advice it gives and have yourselves a safe, lazy, hammocked, paddling pool of a break and we'll talk again in the New Year. FryUp will return to an inbox near you on January 11.