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Netguide Wins Round One 21 December 2000 Edition
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As I mentioned in a previous edition of Aardvark Daily, NZ Netguide magazine is going head-to-head with an IDG NZ publication which, it is alleged, is deceptively similar in format and presentation.

Well it seems that Industrial Press, the publishers of Netguide, have landed the first blow by securing an interim injunction against IDG.

The injunction was granted by the High Court and stops IDG from publishing its magazine until the full case can be heard in late January.

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While it's far from bad news for Netguide, it's hardly much of a practical step since I suspect that, like most Net-related publications, the IDG periodical would have been taking the traditional January hiatus and skipping that month's edition anyway.

However, it does show that the courts are taking the matter seriously and this means that when the matter comes to a full hearing, Netguide is clearly dealing from a position of strength.

Rural Net Users To Get No-Speed Internet
What on earth was the government thinking when they thought that a 9600 bps Internet connection was adequate for rural Net users?

The government response to the Telecommunications Inquiry has stated that within two years, 99% of households should be able to use the Net at 9600 bps and at least 95% should be capable of going online at 14.4Kbps.

What's more, it states that the industry should bear some of the costs associated with providing this level of compliance if it adversely affects Telecom's ongoing profitability. Can someone define "the industry" for me please. Does it include those who provide Internet access solely by wireless means? If so, why should they subsidise Telecom's telephone network?

While the government's response is basically good news -- it would appear that they expect Telecom to comply willingly and without the need for supporting legislation. Fortunately, as we all know from experience, Telecom always play fair and have never been known to push the boundaries of what's fair or legal (uncontrolled laughter).

And, even if Telecom chooses to play ball, it should be remembered that 9.6Kbps or even 14.4Kbps is already technology that is already more than eight years old, Anyone attempting to surf the web, access streaming media, or even download emails with attachments at these speeds is faced with a very frustrating challenge. In two years, by which time broadband will be even more commonplace and many more sites will have embraced bandwidth-hungry technologies and techniques, these outdated data rates will be nothing more than a joke.

What's more -- how do they define what is 9.6K or 14.4K connectivity? There's a big difference between being able to connect at those speeds and being able to sustain a connection for any length of time. Remember that the slower you connect, the longer you have to stay online to download the same amount of data so if your connection constantly keeps dropping due to noise or a weak signal then that 14.4K connection is worse than useless.

Let's hope that the government has done a good job of setting the definitions and will be equally agressive in monitoring Telecom's compliance.

However, surely the government could have looked a to the future rather than the past?

In fact I have trouble warming to the Hon Paul Swain's statement that "The new regime is forward looking. It concentrates on tomorrow's solutions rather than yesterday's problems."

Why not look to wireless Net access for those areas in the rural backwoods or where (like around here) the underground cables are so shot to hell that it becomes hugely expensive to upgrade the level of service?

Satellite downlink with a narrow-band RF uplink to terrestrial receivers would be one option that the government could consider for our rural back-blocks. This would give it ample opportunity to leverage its ownership of TVNZ (who are going digital and are likely to offer their own wireless Net access anyway) to help things along.

I notice also that there's absolutely no mention of any speeds greater than 14.4Kbps -- so perhaps if the other 95% of NZ can obtain a 19.9Kbps connection then there's no need to provide them with 56Kbps capability?

It would appear to me that despite yesterday's government decree, there's still room in Telecom's book of smart moves to launch that "premium data line connection" which guarantees 33.3Kbps or 56Kbps dial-up connections for an extra $10 a month or $0.02 per minute.

Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
Yes, it's still trickling out -- but the Aardvark Weekly subscription list has grown enormously over the past two weeks which has required a bit of a change to the back-end here so there's still going to be a few who haven't received the latest edition. My apologies.

If you want to subscribe, just drop me a note and I'll put you on the list.

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