Kim Dotcom fronts ‘first world internet’ campaign

Summary:Founder of Mega fleshes out his political ambitions and says the cost of international data is holding New Zealand back.

Controversial internet personality and founder of internet company Mega Kim Dotcom is fronting a new advertising campaign for New Zealand internet service provider Orcon.

The campaign is calling for “first world internet” for New Zealanders and the end of data caps.

Orcon chief executive Greg McAlister said New Zealand was at the bottom of the OECD broadband league tables with Australia and Iceland when it came to the prevalence of data caps, despite investing in a national ultrafast fibre broadband rollout.

Orcon has already joined those committed to using the proposed new Hawaiki trans-Pacific cable, which aims to increase competition on New Zealand’s international links. Australian ISP iiNet has also committed.

Dotcom told media in Auckland today that New Zealand is in a trap with international bandwidth prices and can’t attract big data businesses. Reducing those costs, which he said were forty times those Mega pays in Europe, is the only way to attract such services and to get rid of the data caps consumers face.

There was no business case for big data companies to come to New Zealand with these prices, he said.

The problem was a cable monopoly, Southern Cross Cable, that "will do anything to keep monopoly alive", he said. Calling for uncapped unlimited services, Dotcom said the Southern Cross Cable was underutilized, with capacity kept artificially low to keep prices up. 

That was why he was getting engaged in politics in New Zealand, he said. He was in favour of a "bright digital future" for New Zealand with laws that enforce competitive pricing.

Dotcom said he was campaigning around the digital future of New Zealand.

"I'm passionate about changing whats wrong and what’s causing New Zealand to be so far behind," he said.

He said his campaign would include a "digital bill of rights" to improve privacy and internet freedom.

Dotcom said while he can't stand for Parliament as he's not a citizen, he can organise the political movement. He was not yet ready to disclose the name of the political party.

McAlister said Dotcom was paid a fee for the ad but had chosen to donate it to charity.

Topics: Broadband, Networking

About

Rob O'Neill is a writer for CBS Interactive based in Auckland, New Zealand covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet. He has previously worked for IDG, The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age as well as various business titles, most recently editing the Business Sunday section of New Zealand's weekly national news... Full Bio

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