Dotcom plays poster boy as Orcon fights data caps

Dotcom plays poster boy as Orcon fights data caps

A new Orcon campaign gives the ISP a chance to get new customers and frontman Kim Dotcom a chance to push his political barrow.

Orcon is using what it calls a "fun, cheeky" video featuring Dotcom, and social media activity, to push its $99 uncapped internet plan on fibre or ADSL. The plan's been in the market for a year but CEO Greg McAlister says since the company came under new management (it was bought by a group of Kiwi businesspeople in April) it's increased the capacity from 8GB to 23GB.

The campaign plays on painting a picture of Kiwis, even in affluent suburbs, as poor because they have "third world internet" due to data caps.

"Every day, thousands of Kiwis are living below the global broadband line," Dotcom says in the video.

"When we look at other countries and our peer group in the OECD, most countries do not have caps on their internet usage," says McAlister. "We chose Kim because there's no bigger expert on the internet in New Zealand today."

Dotcom is an Orcon customer and says he laid his own fibre from his mansion to the Albany exchange, using 100 megabits of capacity on his cable.

He says his cloud storage service Mega is the largest outbound internet traffic company in New Zealand and says lower bandwidth prices are needed to attract to New Zealand companies that use large amounts of data.

"Big data companies can come to New Zealand and serve customers once these bandwidth issues are solved. We want those customers to come to New Zealand and push bandwidth to the rest of the world.

He says the prices ISPs like Orcon pay to use capacity on the Southern Cross cable compared with those Mega pays in Europe holds New Zealand's economy back.

"It holds the IT economy back because it depends on DSL customers to make a profit. There's no business case for big 
data companies to come to New Zealand with these bandwidth prices.

"I'm for cutting down on this monopoly we currently have in New Zealand with super expensive internet pricing. There's one conglomerate - the Southern Cross Cable operators - that are overcharging New Zealanders for the bandwidth."

Orcon says the unlimited plan is its most popular. McAlister says it has about five percent market share and wants to grow that to ten percent.

Both Orcon and Mega have signed as foundation tenants on the Hawaiiki Cable.