Staying connected in crowds

June 12, 2014

Whenever lots of people converge on places not usually very crowded, mobile connections falter.

It happened in Wanaka at Christmas and Easter and at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu in March.

People going to the Fieldays at Mystery Creek could be expecting similar problems but Telecom has boosted its network to cope with the extra traffic.

Telecom is supporting National Fieldays with its biggest ever mobile communications network build for a one off event – providing a combined network capability four and a half times that which was deployed for the Rugby World Cup 2011 final at Eden Park.

Telecom has deployed a complex mix of both 3G and 4G technology suitable to support more than 125,000 attendees over the four day event period at Mystery Creek Show Grounds.

Alex Lee, Mobile Network Capability Manager – Events says “This kind of capacity is required due to increased customer demand for data (especially in upload capability as people share their experiences on social media) and continuing new customer demand on the Telecom Mobile Network.”

The technology deployed at the event is equivalent to that of over 20 standard mobile sites, transmitting across multiple carriers of 3G on 850MHz, 2100MHz, and 4G LTE on 1800MHz, 2600MHz spectrum. Importantly the use of 700MHz at the event continues Telecom’s trial of 4G technology to the rural sector.

Grant McBeath, Telecom Retail GM Sales says “We’re excited to see how our agribusiness customers can benefit from the faster speeds, better coverage and increased network capacity that 700MHz 4G will deliver for New Zealand’s regions.”

Data traffic across the Telecom network increased by around 60% from March 2014 compared to March 2013. During recent major events, like the Bruce Springsteen concert in Auckland, Telecom have seen mobile uploads actually exceed download.

“As more people begin to use smart devices for things like watching video, using business apps, uploading photos and getting the most out of their music on Spotify, data speeds are going to become more and more important. 4G allows you to do all these things in seconds, and these faster speeds will quickly become the “new normal” for New Zealanders, just as 3G speeds did when they were introduced a few years ago.” McBeath says.

Telecom will be holding two ‘kitchen-chat’ style information sessions each day led by experts from the Telecom network team. The first session will lead a discussion around our networks, and what we’re doing to improve connectivity beyond the major centres. The second session will provide an overview of the Telecom 700MHz spectrum trial in the Waikato and how this will allow Telecom to hit the ground running to deliver 4G beyond the major metropolitan centres once the auction process has concluded.

Rural dwellers are used to less than ideal connections and speeds at home and being connected when you’re away has both pluses and minuses.

But if those at the Fieldays need to be in touch, they’ll be very happy if they can do it without the dropped calls and delays which have happened at other events when the technology can’t cope with the traffic.

They’ll also be keen to learn what improvements they might expect at home – and when they might expect them.


Rural round-up

April 8, 2014

A taste of Waitaki –  Pam Jones:

Pam Jones travels a create-your-own wine and food trail in Waitaki Valley and gives the region top marks.

There is no formal wine and food trail in Waitaki Valley but it is not hard to create your own.

Take a trip from Omarama to Kurow and back to Oamaru and you will discover pinot noirs and aromatics that knock your socks off with their flavours and minerality.

Then add some gourmet treats or rustic farmers’ fare on the side.

It is a recipe for a wonderful day of wining and dining, or stay the night at places along the way to turn it into a multiday sojourn.

We start our loop at the Ladybird Hill Cafe, Restaurant and Winery in Omarama, tucked to the side at the southern entrance of the busy crossroads town. . .

Edendale Nursery sold to large forestry biotech – Sally Rae:

Forestry biotech company ArborGen has expanded its stable of nurseries with the acquisition of Edendale Nursery in Southland.

ArborGen, in which NZX-listed Rubicon has a 31.67% stake, is the largest supplier of seedlings in New Zealand.

It sells up to 25 million trees annually, predominantly in the North Island, and owns five production nurseries, two seed orchards, and a manufacturing facility for the production of radiata varietal seedlings. . . .

Making horseshoe among Young Farmers tasks – Sally Rae:

When Sonja Dobbie entered the North Otago district final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, she did not expect to do well.

The competition was held at Totara Estate, near Oamaru, last November and members of her Five Forks club encouraged each other to enter to ensure good representation.

But Miss Dobbie (23), a first-time entrant, finished third behind Marshall Smith (Upper Waitaki Young Farmers) and Steven Smit (Glenavy-Waimate), ensuring her a place in this month’s Aorangi regional final. . .

Sustainable, High-Performing Dairy Operation Collects Supreme Award In 2014 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Okaihau dairy farmers Roger and Jane Hutchings are the Supreme winners of the 2014 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Judges described the Hutchings’ 680-cow business in the Bay Of Islands, Lodore Farm Ltd, as a very sustainable high-input system which is profitable across all aspects of the operation.

“There is a clear balance between the financial performance of the operation and the environmental and social aspects.”  . . .

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints top genetics positions:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has appointed a Chairman and General Manager to run the new entity Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

Former Landcorp CEO and Massey University Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics Board and Graham Alder the former Genetics Business Manager of Zoetis, has been appointed General Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

The appointments follow the successful vote at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting to combine the organisation’s current genetics investments. This means Sheep Improvement Ltd (the national sheep genetic dataset), the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Central Progeny Test and Ovita, with added investment in beef genetics, come together with government funds to create the new entity Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics. . .

More success for PGP programmes:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming success by three Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programmes this week, including an award nomination for a revolutionary seafood programme.

“The Precision Seafood Harvesting Programme has been nominated for a KiwiNet Research & Business Partnership Award. This is fitting recognition for a programme that could revolutionise the global fishing industry.

“The programme is developing new sustainable fishing technology that will allow fish to be landed on fishing boats alive, and in perfect condition, while safely releasing small fish and other species.

“The potential economic and environmental benefits of this are huge, and it’s no surprise it is attracting so much attention. This is a $52 million project with funding coming from both industry and government.” .

Another PGP programme – Shellfish Production and Technology New Zealand Ltd (SPATnz) – has also reached a milestone in selective breeding of greenshell mussels. . .

Telecom’s expanding mobile network connects locals in the Far North:

Locals and visitors to Houhora, Pukenui and the coastline north to Rarawa Bay may notice a boost in mobile coverage in the area, with Telecom announcing today that it has invested more than $175,000 on improved coverage to the region.

Telecom’s investment in the Houhora Central Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) site responds to the increasing demand for mobile coverage in the area and will give locals and visitors added access to voice, mobile broadband and text services over the Telecom mobile network, which has been built specifically for smart phones.

The improved mobile coverage is part of Telecom’s commitment to open up access to mobile data and applications for rural communities. . .

New Zealand seafood goes online in China promotion:

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has joined forces for the first time with China’s most popular business-to-consumer online shopping platform Tmall.com, to promote New Zealand seafood in a week-long campaign.

The promotion with Tmall.com will take place between 9-15 April, allowing Chinese shoppers to buy live seafood fresh from the sea in New Zealand, then have it packaged and air freighted to Shanghai within 36 hours. Within 72 hours, the seafood orders will be delivered to Chinese consumers across the country. The New Zealand products available for sale include paua, greenshell mussels and Bluff and Pacific oysters.

The ability to sell and deliver live seafood to Chinese consumers is a significant milestone. A similar Tmall.com campaign with Alaskan seafood last year resulted in a total of 50 metric tonnes supplied to Chinese consumers. . .

The ‘B’ word – Mad Bush Farm:

Yesterday I read the forecast for Northland and I used the “B” word. It’s now Autumn, and yet again we’re in a drought. So is the Waikato and things are looking rather grim where rainfall goes. I’m letting the Toyota crew there say the “B” word on my behalf, and the rest of the rural crew out there looking up at the skies and praying it rains and soon!


Feds concerned by 111 coverage

March 22, 2014

Federated farmers is concerned about emergency responsiveness and 111 coverage after it took a farmer about 30 minutes to get through to an operator after she trod in a wasps’ nest.

. . . “Given the 111 service is a rural lifeline, Federated Farmers was troubled to learn Janet Kelland struggled to get through for upwards of 30 minutes,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesperson.

“Telecom/Spark’s Telecommunications Service Obligation is relevant here because it must answer 111 calls within 15 seconds. 

“Federated Farmers is calling on Telecom/Spark to make sure it meets its TSO obligations and a formal complaint from Janet would help to trigger this. 

“Cellular network performance at the time needs to be looked into as well as the mapping software being used by the ambulance call centre.  A farmer repeatedly stung by wasps could have died for want of a connection.

“After getting clear Janet rang 111 and sometimes it would ring she told us and sometimes there was silence.  While cell reception can be random in rural areas she has reception on her farm and good reception from where she tried to call from.

“Janet told Federated Farmers that it took 30-minutes before she got through to an operator.  Even then after asking for an ambulance she was cut off. 

“She did get through but when she gave her address the operator insisted it did not exist.  While Janet resorted to some agricultural language, who could blame her given she was in agony.

“Clearly there are several issues that need to be looked at.  There also seems to be a pressing need to review mapping software because Janet’s address is in the White Pages.

“We note the 2012 review said that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will be working with emergency service providers and the telecommunications sector to investigate new technology. 

“Now seems a good time to start,” Mrs Milne concluded.

Mobile coverage is variable in the country but with RAPID (Rural Address Property Identification Numbers) there should be no problem with an address.

We’ve called 111 twice.

The first time was the night our son stopped breathing.

I started CPR while my farmer called for help. In those days 111 calls went to the local hospital and the man who answered the phone used to shear for us. As soon as he knew it was my farmer he said he’d tell the ambulance how to get there and told my farmer to hang up, ring our GP.

The second time was last December towards the end of a party when one of the guests stumbled, fell and knocked himself out.

I dialled 111, got straight through, had no problem with the address and the ambulance was here in less than 30 minutes.

However, both those calls were from landlines.

Staff who’ve had to call emergency services from our farm have managed to do so without problems, but there’s an element of luck in that they happened to be where they had reasonable coverage when they needed it.

Even in the 21st century you can’t expect 100% mobile coverage but you shouldn’t have to argue about your address.


Internet outage three days and counting

January 4, 2014

We got home after a few days in Wanaka late this afternoon to find we had no internet.

I turned everything off, waited a few minutes and turned it all on again but we still had no connection.

That being the limit of my self-help repertoire, I phoned the Telecom help desk.

The call was answered by a real person in a very few seconds.

I explained the problem, she ascertained that there was no connection, looked further then said there was an outage in our area.

It had happened on the second, three days ago, and they’d received about 20 calls like mine. Chorus would be fixing it but they had no updates on progress and no knowledge of when service would be restored.

I’m using a T-stick with a laptop which is adequate for my needs, albeit slower than the broadband connection which isn’t working.

But our office staff will be back at work tomorrow and it’s very difficult to run the business on a single T-stick.

It would be good to have the problem fixed and until it is, communication on when it will be, would be appreciated.

The internet is a vital tool for business in the 21st century.

An outage lasting three days – and counting  – with no updates is unacceptable.


How safe is changed password?

February 18, 2013

Telecom has been urging customers to change passwords for their Xtra email accounts after a security breach.

the company has cancelled thousands of passwords and says they’ve been  assured by Yahoo the problem is now sorted.

But is it?

. . . Institute of IT Professionals NZ CEO told NBR ONLINE over the weekend that his members continue to investigate the possibility that Xtra address books and email were downloaded for later use by the hackers. Telecom and Yahoo acknowledge the nature of the Yahoo mail server security breach meant it was possible this had taken place. But both say there is so far no evidence it happened. Mr Matthews asks if there’s any evidence it didn’t.

The direct mail server security breach meant phishing emails were sent to the contacts of some people who were not actively using their Xtra account, let alone clicking on a dodgy link. . .

Ours was one of the accounts which had its password cancelled and we had no trouble resetting it.

But no evidence that address books and emails were downloaded for later use could just mean they haven’t been used yet.


Thanks Telecom

December 10, 2012

Telecom has announced changes to overseas roaming charges which will significantly reduce the cost of calls and data in several countries:

A feature is a flat daily rate for data roaming by postpaid customers across major travel markets. Australia roaming will start at a specially reduced rate of $6 a day (Telecom will review the rate in mid 2013). Customers will pay just $10 a day flat rate for data while travelling in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Telecom’s fair use policy applies to these rates .

Data roaming charges will be slashed by 83% to 92% in other markets, although charges will continue to be on a usage basis.

The new postpaid pricing schedule also includes new voice call roaming rates, featuring a 35% cut in the per-minute rate for Australia. Rate bands across all other markets have been simplified to make them easier to follow, with individual market rates either reduced by up to 50% or broadly similar to current rates.

For prepaid customers, data roaming charges will reduce by up to 88% and voice roaming charges by up to 45%. . . 

This is a vast improvement on the current very expensive rates for making calls or using data and much more convenient than using a local sim card while away from home.

It should be good for business too as a lot of frequent travellers who use their phones and iPads as infrequently as possible unless they can get wireless connections when overseas will be far less concerned about the cost.


Bad old days are back

December 3, 2012

Remember when it used to take weeks to get a telephone connected?

Those bad old days are back.

Last month we applied for a connection for a new staff house on a dairy farm and were told someone would be out to do it a few days later.

He arrived when he was supposed to but took one look and said he couldn’t do the connection, someone else would have to do it.

We were told that someone would be out the following week.

That week came and went but no-one turned up.

My farmer phoned Telecom and was told someone would definitely be in touch the following morning.

No-one called so my farmer phoned again and was told that the job couldn’t be done. There wasn’t enough of whatever was needed at the exchange and it could be some months before there was.

Last week, about a week after that conversation, my farmer got a phone call, while we were driving to Christchurch, saying someone would be out to do something to a grey box in the middle of December.

He explained what we’d been told so far and asked if that meant that whatever was lacking at the exchange had been sorted.

I was in the car with him and could hear the conversation on the speaker.

We both got the impression she didn’t know anything about the exchange but before we could pursue the conversation, reception dropped.

As her number had been withheld we couldn’t call back and she  hasn’t tried calling us again.

That was five days ago and we still don’t know exactly when someone will be coming to do whatever needs to be done with the grey box nor whether if, when that’s done, the phone will be able to be connected.

Contrast that with the service from Sky.

Someone turned up at the designated time, put up a dish, connected the box and television – and it worked.

Connecting  a television and a telephone are different jobs but there’s no reason the service we’re getting from Telecom shouldn’t be up the standard as that we got from Sky.


Dear Telecom – updated

December 21, 2011

Dear Telecom,

Our internet connection died on Monday morning.

I phoned your help desk. A recorded message told me people were experiencing email difficulties, technicians were working on it and the waiting time for calls to be answered was about an hour.

I hung up.

About an hour later I rang back, heard about the email problems again and then was told if I left my number someone would call back.

I left my number. Someone called back.

She tried to help and couldn’t. She passed me onto someone else who tried to help.

She wanted me to tell her which of the lights were green on the modem. I couldn’t see to read in the half-light under the desk. I enlisted a younger pair of eyes, she read out the labels and I relayed them to the help desk.

It didn’t help and nothing else that was suggested worked. She passed me on to someone else.

After about an hour of this the bloke who was trying to help said he’d have to email a technician who would text me and I could expect that message within four hours.

By Tuesday morning I’d still heard nothing. Our office manager spent more than an hour on the phone getting to the same place I had.

But at 9:35 I got a text telling me Telecom had logged a case and giving me a reference number.

Yesterday evening when we’d heard nothing more my farmer rang for help.

He got nowhere.

I went over to the office and found a message saying the problem had been resolved and everything would be fine by this morning.

At 9:18pm I got a text saying the problem had been resolved.

I went back tot he office, the internet was still dead. I rang the support number again.

The woman who answered got me under the desk again to put the end of a paper clip in a tiny hole in the modem to reboot it. That didn’t work either.

She passed me on to someone else who studied the case notes and said that the problem at the exchange had been fixed  but they still had to do something else, it should be fine in the morning and I’d get a text between 8 and 9am.

At 9:30 having heard nothing I rang the help desk again. I explained I needed level 2, the woman who answered said she’d try to help me first.

She couldn’t and eventually passed me on.

Once more I had to get under the desk and stick a paper clip in the tiny hole in the modem. The paper clip bent and wouldn’t turn the modem off. The man on the help desk suggested I get a tooth pick. I did. It broke. I found a stronger paper clip which enabled me to turn the modem off.

It came back on but the internet light still didn’t.

The help desk man eventually said he’d have to email the technician again. I asked him if he could impress upon him the urgency of the matter given we ‘d been trying to run a business on a couple of t-sticks for 48 hours and could he please ask the technician to contact us and give us an indication of what might be done by when.

He said I should get a text.

I didn’t.

I tried phoning Chorus directly but was told I had to go through Telecom.

It’s been more than four hours and we’ve still heard nothing.

Yesterday was the 20th of the month, had it not been for the t-sticks we wouldn’t have been able to pay the bills. As it was we could, albeit at a far slower rate than normal because mobile reception isn’t very good out here.

Thanks to the t-sticks we’ve been able to send and receive emails and I’ve been able to blog too but the much slower connection and the hours we’ve spent on the phone are costing us time and causing frustration for our staff and us.

That would be bad enough at any time of the year but it is especially concerning just two days before the country shuts-down for Christmas.

The length of time it’s taking and the silence in which we’ve been left are an appalling reflection on your customer service.

How hard would it be for a real person to phone us and tell us what’s happening and give an indication of when the problem might be resolved?

The very least a business in the business of communication should do is communicate with its customers when they’re having problems.

Yours in frustration

Ele

UPDATE:

3:08: Internet is back. Thank you.


Telecom abstaining from abstinence campaign

August 18, 2011

Telecom has canned its abstain for the All Blacks campaign.

Sex sells but abstinence would have been a big ask, even if it was tongue in cheek.

A campaign asking people to abstain from something they chose to forgo might have worked.

The one exhorting New Zealanders to touch, crouch and not engage for six weeks ought to have been chucked in the bad-idea bin long before it reached the public.


Is XT working properly yet?

February 18, 2011

Alcatel-Lucent, which designed telecom’s XT network has been employed to find out if it’s working properly.

We still have concerns with it.

When we were in Wanaka over Christmas/New Year my farmer’s phone and mine kept disconnecting mid call even when the display showed full reception.

I have an XT t-stick for my computer and it kept losing reception and/or disconnecting too.

I suspect that means the system can’t cope with the population influx.

We haven’t had any problems with phones in Wanaka since then but computer connection, in Wanaka and other places, while better is not 100% reliable.

We also both find that coverage for our XT phones isn’t as good as it was with the old system. There’s always been a black spot between the Otematata saddle and Omarama but anywhere else in the Waitaki Valley used to be okay.  It’s not with XT phones which go in and out of reception in several other places in the valley and other places between home and Christchurch and throughout Otago and Southland where we used to have no problems.

The system has got over its initial problems and is certainly working better than it was but there’s still room for improvement.


How does a Milestone compare with an iPhone?

June 17, 2010

Those who responded to my question of whether it would be better to buy a Blackberry or an iPhone all said an iPhone.

Now I have another question, how does Telecom’s Milestone, which is to be lanunched on July 1 compare with an iPhone?

The media release says it’s  powered by Android™ 2.1 operating system – which I presume is a good thing, but will it work outside main centres?


An iPhone, a Blackberry or what?

June 8, 2010

My mobile phone is showing its age and I’m looking at  a replacement.

I’m unsure whether I should stick with what I’m used to – a model that can make and take phone calls and send and receive texts – or go for something which can do more.

If you’ve had experience with  a Blackberry or iPhone, or anything that’s better than those I’d appreciate your advice.

I’m with Telecom now and  looking at changing phone not provider.

I’ve stuck with XT for mobile broadband but in spite of the new advertising campaign which Cactus Kate reckons means all the wrinkles have been ironed out, I’ve noticed my farmer’s phone, which isn’t on XT, gets service where the T-stick for the computer won’t.

My tartan genes get excited over a Scottish accent, but not sufficiently to allow me to accept poor reception.


XT truth from Telecom

February 27, 2010

When I rang the Telecom desk for the second time in three hours yesterday because the mobile broadband kept disconnecting the bloke who answered was very helpful.

He also admitted the problem was the XT network.

Phone calls take precedence over data so if/when the system reaches capacity a single extra phone call pushes out the broadband connection.

“But we’re working fast to remedy that and add extra capacity,” he added.

Does this mean that XT has been more popular than the company thought it would be or that capacity was insufficient to begin with?

Whichever it is, I’m giving the company the benefit of the doubt for now and waiting hopefully for delivery to meet the promises soon.

After all, as Not PC points out, other telcos aren’t fault-free either.


XT troubles

February 23, 2010

When I bought a new laptop last year I also bought a mobile broadband package which included connection to telecom’s XT network.

What a disappointment. It was no faster than the older model I’d had and when I was in Wanaka over Christmas and New Year it kept disconnecting and sometimes wouldn’t re-connect.

I eventually phoned the help-line, they did something to it and there was some improvement but still not the service I’d been promised.

When the outages to the XT network happened I was at home where I don’t use the mobile connections but I’d have been very frustrated had I been somewhere where I needed it.

In spite of this when I replaced the laptop that was stolen I went for the XT T-stick again, thinking that Telecom must have fixed the problems.

But in Wanaka on Saturday evening the computer kept disconnecting and after the fifth time in 30 minutes wouldn’t reconnect. At the same time my farmer who has an older Telecom mobile system had normal service.

Then the system failed completely yesterday.

It’s working again now, but how can we haver confidence that will continue?

We use Telecom because it’s always had better coverage in the country. We can make calls from most places on our farm when visitors with Vodophone can’t.

I had to sign up for a two year package so I’m stuck with Telecom anyway. But any more  problems and I’ll be going back to the store and asking to be swapped to the old system.


Telecan’t causes country chaos

January 28, 2010

The failure of Telecom’s XT network has caused chaos for farmers, stock agents and transport firms.

The buying and selling of stock requires co-ordination between farmers, agents and transporters who phone each other to arrange pick up and delivery times.

Most of these people spend most of their day well away from landlines so when their mobile phones don’t work they can’t be contacted.

When the phone system failed yesterday, stock was coming and going without the normal and necessary communication between buyers, sellers and truckies.


Is the headline just a wee bit slanted?

August 26, 2009

It says Telecom defends outrageous executive salaries.

Cactus Kate has another view.

The NBR looks at  how Paul Reyonold’s pay stacks up against the competition.


Uh oh18

February 13, 2009

When I couldn’t find a phone number on Monday I used the whitepages and got it immediately.

On my way to Christchurch the following day I needed the number again so rang 018.

I gave the operator the surname and first names of the couple and then explained I didn’t know the exact address but they lived at Clearwater.

She asked if that was an area, I replied it was a resort and she told me they didn’t have a number for anyone of that name at Clearwater.

The names I’d given her aren’t rare but they aren’t very common either so I asked if there was a number for any couple with the combination of names I was asking for anywhere in Christchurch.

She said there was one so I asked for the address and when she gave it to me I recognised it as being the one I needed.

Not giving the exact address makes finding a number harder, but given I gave the two first names and surname of the people whose number I wanted and there was only one with that combination in the whole of Christchurch, why didn’t she offer it as an alternative rather than just giving me the we -don’t -have -anyone -at -that -addreess response?

This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a similar teeth-pulling exercise to get a number, even when I know it’s in the phone book and/or internet whitepages and I’ve got the right address.

It happens often with country people because rural delivery addresses usually go through a postal centre some distance from the phone exchange, so for example the postal address might be Oamaru but the phone exchange will be one of several other wee townships such as Enfield, Windsor or Duntroon which most people don’t know.

But it also happens with addresses in towns and cities and others tell me they have similar problems with the 018 service.

If it’s this bad when staff appear to be New Zealanders, imagine how much worse it will get if Telecom moves this service to an overseas call centre too.


Why not more WiFi?

January 9, 2009

Internect connection in Argentina was better and faster in 2003 than anything we could get at home at that time.

We’ve got broadband since then and although the rural connection (through Orcon) is much slower than we’d get in a city it’s an improvement on dial-up – fine for emails, net surfing and blogging but slower than desiarable for up or downloading lots of data.

But it doesn’t work on the laptop so when we’re on the road we use a Telecom mobile connection which operates at a similar speed to the home connection.

That’s pretty dismal comapred with many other places and last month’s visit to Argentina showed us their technology has overtaken ours again with the proliferation of free WiFi services which were available in most cafes, bars and hotels.

Bernard Hickey  found a similar level of service in the USA and Fairfacts Media notes free WiFi is offered by British pubs as a way to attract business.

We’re a long way from widespread availability of WiFi in New Zealand although the government has promised a boost to internet services as part of its investment in infrasturcture.

The wee Otago town of Lawrence isn’t waiting for the government though. The ODT reports  the locals are already setting up free wireless internet in the town centre.

More and more people, especially overseas visitors and business people, had laptops with them as they travelled, so it made sense to try to offer them free Internet access so they would stay longer in the town. . .

Quite – it’s good for travellers and it’s good for business and there’s no need to wait for the government to do it.


Tech tantrum #3

August 6, 2008

When I turned on the computer as I normally do first thing, this morning there was no internet connection.

I truned it off and unplugged everything, waited a minute, plugged everything back in, turned the computer on again, which is the limit of my technical ability, but still nothing.

The next step was to phone the help desk – but Orcon doesn’t open until 8am. Mutter muble, call that service?

We’ve got a backup with the laptop which has Telecom mobile, but 8am to 10.30 weekdays and 8am to 8pm weekend hours for Orcon’s help desk isn’t good enough in a 24 hour world.


New Toy

July 6, 2008

We have just invested in a mobile connection for the laptop.

It was supposed to have been set up on Thursday and when we couldn’t connect we presumed it was because mobile reception can be a bit hit and miss at home.

However, when we tried to check road conditions on our way up the Waitaki Valley today it still wouldn’t connect.

The very helpful bloke at the Telecom help desk discovered our connection hadn’t been processed, then told me to hang up and he’d call me back when he’d sorted it out.

He did, it was and I was able to get reception until we entered the Lindis Pass.

I’m impressed.


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