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Dateline: 15 May 2000 Early Edition
Read The Previous Edition
A permanent link to this page can be found here

From Cyclops To Hydra?
There are still a lot of people trying to get their heads around the rather sudden change of heart by both Telecom and Clear in respect to the 0867 situation as announced last night.

Suddenly it would seem that the almost year-long battle between the two telco giants is at an end -- with Clear agreeing to sign up to the 0867 concept and Telecom agreeing not to charge the "Internet Tax" on Net calls made to non-0867 numbers.

There's intense speculation that this is all due to a change of faces at the negotiating table and the involvement of two women -- Theresa Gattung on Telecom's side and Rhoda Holmes on Clear's side.

So... is this simply a case of patching up old grievances in the name of providing better service to the customer?

I guess this is what we'll be told -- and some people might even believe it.

Unfortunately, as I predicted just over a week ago, it would appear that the local Telco business is about to join the banking and petroleum industries in deciding that small markets are much better suited to duopolies or cartels than competition.

After all -- when you're dealing with a tiny market the size of New Zealand, what's the point in wasting money fighting your main competitor when you can simply join forces and, by presenting a unified front to the market, do just about anything you want.

Of course the fact that one day, the government will (eventually) get around to seriously looking into the way the Kiwi share and NZ Net users have been abused by Telecom also has something to do with this latest decision.

Telecom doesn't want the government to spoil it's little party by legislating for others to gatecrash -- so it figures that by allowing Clear in to share the plunder it can argue that such legislation is no longer necessary.

For its part, Clear would naturally be happy to sit at the table and share the trifle and jelly on offer.

Let me be cynical again and suggest that over the next five or six months Clear and Telecom will be working very hard behind closed doors to create a new relationship that will not only present a unified front to government and its inquiry, but which will also protect their patch against any upstarts that might want to come along and not play the cartel game.

So... are consumers going to get a better deal?

The answer is simple.... How do you feel about the levels of service your bank offers and are you happy with the level of fees they charge?

Unfortunately I have every confidence that the government will come back and tell us that the monster which created the 0867 situation is dead and there is now no longer any need to adjust Telecom's monopoly on the local loop. Perhaps they'll forget that there are two-headed monsters too!

Of course I could be wrong -- what do YOU think?

All feedback gratefully received.

And The Winner Is...
There can't be anyone in the NZ Internet industry who isn't aware of the levels of dissatisfaction associated with the launch of the new Domainz registry system.

This giant mess has created a wide range of reactions amongst ISPs, Web designers and others -- ranging from frustration, through anger to despair.

Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the whole thing is that Domainz simply refuses to acknowledge this massive level of discontent -- and, as if to rub salt into the wound, this press release was received last week from a PR spokesman who is either very easily deceived or who really doesn't care about his credibility:

From: Peter Verschaffelt
For : The Editor
Subj: Domainz Media Release,

Media Release
For Immediate Release
12 May 2000


The new system for registering domain names in New Zealand is up and running.

Domainz CEO Patrick O’Brien says that inspite [sic] of minor technical adjustments being needed overnight to bring the new “Advantage” developed system’s web interface online, introduction of the new system has gone remarkable smoothly.

“The web interface whereby domain names can be registered on Domainz web site was down overnight as we made some technical adjustments, however this minor hitch has been sorted out and the system is now up and running.”

Mr O’Brien says the automated email template for registering domain names remained online and registrars who use an automated interface with Domainz have been able to register domain names throughout the transition to the new system.

“We of course expected there could be minor delays during the roll-out of the new system and there could be a need for further fine tuning over the next 3 - 4 weeks as the new system beds in,” Mr O’Brian [sic] says.

He says Domainz is very happy with the new “Advantage” system and in comparison to the introduction of new systems in other jurisdictions the roll-out here has gone extremely smoothly.

For further information contact
Patrick O’Brien
Phone: (021) 426-369
Email: p.o.brien@domainz.net.nz

Now I have to wonder if this is a joke -- after all, the quality of the spelling and grammar is hardly of a calibre you'd expect from a professional PR agency -- they even spelt the client's name wrong!

But -- if it's bona fide then I'd have to say.... congratulations Patrick O'Brien and Peter Verschaffelt for producing the "spin of the year."

I suspect that those ISPs and Web designers I spoke of before can now quite rightly feel that their intelligence has been insulted.

Nice one Patrick!

Free republic-ation rights available on request :-)

Currently Under Test -- Feedback Welcomed


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