Ihug, Telecom square off over 0867

Telecom and Internet service provider Ihug are at loggerheads over the 0867 numbering scheme after a problem-plagued first week.

Telecom and Internet service provider Ihug are at loggerheads over the 0867 numbering scheme after a problem-plagued first week.

Telecom says Ihug's problems aren't related to its 0867 numberings scheme, while Ihug says the problems haven't been fully assessed yet and Telecom's spokesman doesn't know what he's talking about.

Telecom launched the 0867 scheme on November 1 but last week Ihug told its users to revert to their old dial-up numbers for access if they were experiencing problems. Now Telecom says there were no problems with 0867 itself and one of the problems was Ihug’s understanding of the technology.

"We had a meeting last Friday [November 5] - our head of networks and the head of industry services group - with Ihug where we explained to them in quite some considerable detail how 0867 works at a technical level," says spokesman Glen Sowry. He says Ihug has been making statements about a lack of capacity on 0867 which is untrue.

"We were able to clearly demonstrate to them that that was not the case."

Sowry says the meeting was "constructive and positive" and that Ihug came away with a better understanding of the situation.

"There are dozens of things that happen to establish an Internet connection that can go wrong. It’s not surprising that when a consumer experiences problems they look to what has changed."

He says some people jumped to the conclusion that the problem lay with 0867 when in fact that was not the case.

"[Of all] the complaints we’ve received from Ihug so far that have been investigated, none of them have been attributable to 0867," says Sowry.

But Tim Wood, director of Ihug, disagrees, saying Sowry doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

"If he actually bothered to check with the people actually doing the work he’d know what the **** he’s talking about, which he doesn’t."

Wood says Sowry is working with out-of-date information about the issue.

"That little mantra that he’s pumping out came from last week when they’d looked at maybe four people". Wood says Telecom has set up a team to investigate the problems and they are working through them one by one. He doesn't have any figures on problems yet, or on what has caused the trouble in the first place.

Ihug’s "message of the day" for November 2 (still available on its Web site: www.ihug.co.nz) says: "Many of our users are currently experiencing problems with Telecom's 0867 service."

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