Some lost, some won on TelstraClear’s unmetered weekend

TelstraClear’s weekend of unmetered broadband was an abject failure according to some (InternetNZ and many other irate customers) but a success by others.

TelstraClear’s weekend of unmetered broadband was an abject failure according to some (InternetNZ and many other irate customers) but a success by others.

All up, 200,000 customers took part and they used two and a half times more data overall than the previous weekend.

The promotion saw NZ's second-largest ISP lift data caps on all residential plans from 6pm Friday to 12pm on Sunday. Most New Zealanders are on a data cap plan.

InternetNZ boss Vikram Kumar has said the weekend was a disaster, and that speeds were sluggish and congestion was a major problem.

InternetNZ is in charge of local website addresses on behalf of the global internet body ICANN and lobbies on behalf of consumers.

But TrueNet, a broadband monitor company that crunched the numbers on the promotion, took a different stance.

It interpreted TelstraClear's experiment with unlimited broadband as a success, with average speeds ranging from 3.3Mb/s to 7Mb/s with a limited number of outages.

TelstraClear Cable speeds reduced to almost exactly the same as TelstraClear ADSL speeds.

The greatest data benefit was therefore to customers on the TelstraClear cable network, with the total data they used amounting to triple the previous weekend, jumping from 76 to 232TB.

“We expected customers to take advantage of this opportunity and were upfront from the start. We said ‘With lots of people online for longer, some customers could experience slower than normal connection speeds’,” said Steve Jackson, TelstraClear head of consumer markets.

The impact on speed and access to international websites was a problem. However, given that many customers took advantage of the promotion to ‘bittorrent’ like never before and download movies, television shows and music, some didn’t mind the slower speeds.

But criticisms and complaints centred on the inability of TelstraClear to cope with the demand; in some cases download speeds were as low as 0.8mb.

Comments on Geekzone and Twitter have slammed TelstraClear for rolling out unlimited data at the expense of those who pay the full price.

New Zealand currently has a single cable link with the outside world, the 50 percent Telecom-owned Southern Cross Cable.

TelstraClear has not decided if it will do a re-run of the promotion.

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