So close to the broadband dream

So close to the broadband dream

“Please see below for announcement of new business services from ihug …” said the media release. So, I did.

“ihug, one of New Zealand’s most popular home phone and broadband providers,” the message continued, “has launched new services to meet the needs of small business customers around the country.”

Okay, sounds interesting enough. I haven’t got much to do this morning, tell me a little more.

“David Joyce, ihug’s GM of marketing, says the new phone and broadband products suit businesses with small offices or those based at home …”

And so it went on, with the rest of the release going through all the usual sorts of stuff: Price, types of plan, how the deal’s better than what the other guys are offering, then a few words of wisdom from a senior exec about how marvellous the whole thing is. Interesting in a ‘that’s nice’ kinda way. Until, that is, the final paragraph: “Joyce says with a maximum upload speed of 800Mbps, businesses can use the internet to make voice or video calls and to send large files, which is a real advantage when it comes to being nationally and globally competitive.”

800Mbps! What?

Phew. That’s some speed.

Nationally and globally competitive! Large files! I’ll say. Forget fuzzy video calling, that sort of speed puts high definition TV into the shade. The 32,000-odd pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica would take about three seconds to send. Where once download speed was never going to be your problem, it’s now the DSL dummy.

Servers will be getting bombarded with so much data, they’ll be renaming them ‘hoarders’.

And our OECD ranking for these things is no longer going to be the butt of jokes but go through the roof. They’ll be sending down inspectors to ensure we’re not cooking the broadband books to make it look like we’ve finally come to our senses and recognised the importance of high speed internet. Come to New Zealand, we’ll be saying, broadband capital of the Universe …

Upload speeds on plans are normally the main gripe we all have with our connections. They bump around at the 128Kbps mark. They may go up to the 512Kbps range. Some service providers will allow the maximum your connection can do (which ain’t that much if it’s not fibre). But 800Mbps. That’s some breakthrough. What on earth are they doing to the poor copper wires? They’ll be glowing red hot.

Alas (and, of course) it is not to be. A few minutes later a second email came pinging into my inbox.

“Apologies”, it began. “There is a typo in the release ... the upload speed should say 800 Kbps (kilobytes per second) not Mbps.”

Oh well, it’s good to dream … even if it’s for a few, short minutes (and I never really thought it was going to be real – but what sort of story would that have made?).

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