An Auckland ISP has hailed an about-face on DDS pricing from Telecom's computer communications department - after a year-long wrangle.
David Dix, owner of KC Internet Services, attributes Telecom's change of heart to new personnel- and to growing concern over the popularity of wireless radio links for data tranfer in central Auckland in particular.
The dispute has been over Telecom's stacked wideband DDS service, which allows DDS (dedicated digital service) circuits to different destinations to be "stacked" into the 30 64Kbit/s timeslots available on a 2Mbit/s bearer circuit, rather than each requiring its own bearer.
Dix, whose company specialises in leased line business, says he agreed to take up the service nearly 18 months ago, on the basis that each of his leased line customers would be separately billed for their own circuits.
"If you have the two meg circuit into your location, then you order up another circuit going somewhere else, why put a whole new circuit in? Why not just, at the exchange, put it on top of some of the empty timeslots on the existing circuit?
"Telecom came out with that service and called it stacked wideband DDS, and it all made good common sense. But then they reneged on it, after I'd purchased all the equipment at their urging. The stumbling point was what they called one-point billing.
"They turned around and said that the person who had the actual stacked wideband service had to own all the circuits that come in. The bill for that would have been enormous - about $65,000 a month for me. And I cringed at that because it meant Telecom were turning me into a collecting service.
"I really think that now Telecom have realised that their whole concept of stacked wideband has been a failure."
Dix says the change of heart could cut the cost of some DDS services by 40%.
"Take for example one of my ISP customers, who's hooked through to me on a 64k DDS. That costs him about $1100 a month. But if he comes through to me on stacked wideband DDS, instead of there being a $480 access fee at my end, it drops to $38. So he's very keen. So that would see a 64k DDS dropping down to about $700 or a 128k dropping down from $1500 to about $900.
Dix says Telecom has given him an "unusually prompt" deployment time of 8 to 10 weeks for the rejigged service.
KC was the only Telecom customer to invest in the routers and other hardware necessary to use the service, and connected several Auckland customers before dual pricing was withdrawn. Dix says that when Telecom confirms the new rules he will move to install stacked services at Hamilton, Napier, Tauranga and later to Wellington and Christchurch.