Almost every ISP in the country has aligned against Telecom Xtra in a new industry body formalised in Wellington last week.
The Internet Service Providers Association of New Zealand will fight against what its members regard as anti-competitive aspects of Xtra’s new pricing regime — and a group of members will almost certainly apply for an injunction against the Telecom ISP.
Voyager boss John O’Hara, who hosted an Auckland ISP council of war last week, confirms his company would “quite likely” be involved in any legal action.
“It’s not our concern what Xtra charges its customers,” says O’Hara. “After all, IBM has released its new charges (see IBM ups ante) and they’re lower still than Xtra. But there are two specific issues. One is that a player in the market should not be able to sell below cost by virtue of its dominance in an unrelated market. The other is that any products sold by Telecom should be sold on an equivalent basis to all its customers.”
A meeting of South Island ISPs also resolved to take joint action against “grossly anti-competitive” moves by Xtra.
“There has been enormous investment of capital and creativity in the Internet industry in New Zealand and if Telecom succeeds in its effort to drive independent ISPs out of business, the waste will be incredible,” says Brett Shand, managing director of Dunedin’s Earthlight Communications.
Another initiative, Bold Opposition to Hostile Internet Corporate Activities, already has the beginnings of a Web site, at http://www.astra-ces.co.nz/bohica/bohica4.html.