Short-termers get service (finally)

Short-termers get service (finally)

Summary: People who move often have in the past been caught in technological limbo, forced to use wireless connections, because fixed connections require too much commitment. But change is afoot.

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A few weeks back, I wrote about companies who supply wireless internet to apartments. The services are targeted at landlords, who earn a cut of the revenue takings.

Yet, despite this, such services still work out as being cheap or cheaper than broadband that is supplied through your traditional cable-based telcos. They are also much cheaper than mobile internet, supplied through the use of various sticks.

An added beauty is the flexibility of it all. There are no contracts other than what you might pay for, say 15GB of internet for a month.

Earlier this year, I moved into a city apartment that is served by one of these companies.

It has ended up being the best and cheapest way to get broadband, and at NZ$50 or so for 15GB of broadband a month, it is far better than chewing through 2GB every week or two on my Vodafone stick for a similar amount.

The only snag: I live at the end of a long corridor and could only access the service when I sat facing my front door. Furthermore, at certain times, say, at "peak surfing" times around 8 to 10pm, the service would drop off and I could only get it back if I went outside into the corridor and sat by the lift.

I complained to the company, and they have supplied me with a booster, which means I can now finally go online while sitting in bed, which is where I am writing and emailing this from.

But what about a phone?

Of course, I have a mobile phone, but like many renters, I find a landline uneconomic, at least with current, mainstream providers.

That is until this week, when a no contracts service was launched. Flip, a division of Callplus and Slingshot, generated some debateby promoting itself on offering 5GB of internet "free", with its NZ$50 a month service.

For me, it was the no contracts bit of the service that was significant.

When I mentioned it to the company, Flip did say that it saw a market in students who don't bother with a landline, because they will only be in their flats for nine months and didn't want to pay for 12.

New arrivals to New Zealand would also appreciate a flexible landline service that they could hold until they knew where they were going to settle.

The trouble with mainstream telcos is that their contracts last at least a year, and it usually costs NZ$150 to break them. Flip only charges NZ$50 for installation, which is much less for those renters who move around more often, like city apartment dwellers and students.

I'm sure that other services will follow suit. At long last, the transients and short-timers will be able to get an affordable and competitively priced landline service that fits in with their flexible needs. Who knows, it might even save the landline from extinction and give it a new lease of life — especially with the young.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Mobility, New Zealand

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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2 comments
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  • 15GB a month is "good"?!

    I'm in Canada, on the Eastern end of the country. Quite a few of our Internet providers do have bandwidth caps and they are usually 150GB (big B, byte) a month for about CDN$60. My provider does not have a bandwidth cap. I can get 1MB (again, big B, byte) download sustained on my connection. No limit in use. For about CDN$55. I've reinstalled my system, reinstalled all 400GB of my Steam games on and off over the course of a week, and my bill for the service at the end of the month is always that flat-rate CDN$55. I love my ISP.
    BP314
  • Ah, 2003 at Uni

    ISP prices have been falling due to competition, but were still on the high side (to my way of thinking) back in 2003. As students, the solution was simple: One landline number and a huge 256kb/s uncapped net access. The way student housing was arranged, we all could have had private connections in our bedrooms, but splitting the cost six ways, paying for 12 months even if we only used 9 was still cheap.

    Maybe I should consider sub-letting the wireless connection to my neighbors?
    Treknology