Blog on hold: This blog is currently on hold. Please visit for new blog posts

Watch Keran's YouTube Channel #theRandomnessProject

New Zealand, the internet & coffee

Tweet I’ve been mulling this post for a while, actually since Christmas while I was in Malaysia chilling out with family. New Zealand’s internet sucks There I said it and I fully stand behind that statement. So why am I posting about this now, why didn’t I write it when I first stared mulling over [...]

I’ve been mulling this post for a while, actually since Christmas while I was in Malaysia chilling out with family.

New Zealand’s internet sucks

There I said it and I fully stand behind that statement. So why am I posting about this now, why didn’t I write it when I first stared mulling over the woes of the NZ Internet status?

ethernet-cables23029There has been a bit of a stiring in the New Zealand internet space of late and I guess that has kinda triggered me into thinking a little more seriously about the current status of the net here. (Read my post about the s92a law that currently is under review)

Then this morning there was an article in the NZHerald (top New Zealand newspaper) talking about how the government is about to invest $1.5 Billion into the broadband infrastructure here in NZ to … well, I’d like to say bring it up to play with the international market and keep NZ at the cutting edge of technology, but I can’t. I don’t see how this will help – but I guess I’ll wait on the full announcement as to what they are going to do.

What’s the issue?

It’s all good and well to point the finger at the government and expect them to do something. Sadly here in NZ (and this is a trend in western countries) we run to Mummy & Daddy Government and expect them to legislate and throw money at our concerns – to force change.

Why? The power is in our hands is it not? Okay let me rephrase that. The power is in the hands of the companies, who should be working to please their customers.

Lets move away from broadband for a second, I mean yes we can get speeds of 512kbs and maybe 1mb downloads at home through our ISP’s but what about being out and about?

See New Zealand is really (and I mean really, seriously) lacking in support when it comes to Wi-Fi. Take a stroll around any city center in this country, how many free Wi-Fi spots can you find? (Legit free, not Wi-Fi that’s left open). Zip, nadda, nothing … bupkis

Go to ANY Starbucks in the USA, UK or heck even backward, 3rd world Kota Kinablu in Malaysia and you’ll have FREE, full speed, broadband Wi-Fi. Free. Not free with coffee, but FREE.

Here in NZ, no! You have to be a Telecom customer or Tomizone (Tomy Zone?) member to get “free” internet and then it’s not free it’s paid for as part of your home connection.

Free in KFC & McDonalds

While walking around one of the malls in Kota Kinablau we decided to grab some KFC. I was sitting there with my iPhone, and suddenly realised “Oh, there is Wi-Fi here” … thinking it was maybe from a Starbucks or Coffee Bean near by. But no, it was KFC’s own Wi-Fi.

Free Wi-Fi is prolific in the malls across the world, from McDonalds to KFC, from Libraries to Starbucks – and it should be. It should be so cheap that companies don’t have to think about it – they just do it.

Companies shouldn’t be so worried about the bottom line on EVERYTHING, that they should offer it. Don’t WORRY, not everyone is going to jack in and download porn, or warez or illegal software. Most people simply want to check their mail, find a location on Google Maps or in the case of Starbucks, buy the music you are playing from iTunes. (Besides there are tools to limit that sort of behaviour anyway)

Where is NZ’s free Wi-Fi

Why the hell is the government investing so much money into the broadband infrustructure of New Zealand? Becuase they “think” that businesses need access to great broadband for the company/country to grow.

You know what I think? The New Zealand government need to “encourage” companies here to pull their heads out of their (BAD WORD HERE) and start to look after the customers. We NEED proliferation of the interent, everywhere we go & I don’t want to pay HUGE prices for it. It’s bad enough that you pay $15 for 5 mins in any hotel in this country, let alone having to pay while enjoying a coffee.

I was talking recently (and may get shot for this) to one of New Zealand’s leading internet providers (commercial) who is working with a large city council to set up “free wi-fi” within the city CBD. It sounded great & I was all very excited to meet with them and chat. But it’s NOT free wi-fi, it’s a flammin walled garden – what are we ?? stuck in 2005? For (BAD WORD HERE)’s sake!! Get it right. People want Free Wi-Fi, but not to visit your council website – they want Gmail, flickr and Facebook.

When will these companies get it?

Business in the coffee shop

One of my favourite software companies is a crazy group called Delicious Monster, they make the excellent Mac software called Delicious Library. The are based in Seattle, but they don’t have an office, they simply rock up to their local coffee shop  - Zoka which has by all accounts some GREAT coffee – who provide free Wi-Fi. They work out of othe coffee shop.

Where is this fostering of the small business from the NZ goverment? Setting up and running a small business in this country is hard, very hard. So NZ Government – if you are listening. Stop catering to the big business in this country that make up less than 1% of all businesses here. Start caring about the small company. Don’t throw your $1.5 Billion into Telecom’s pot, instead use it to encourage community, to encourage the proliferation of FREE Wi-Fi in this country. There are plenty of community projects you can support to get free Wi-Fi here in NZ.

If the companies/businesses in NZ won’t offer their customers (paying customers or not) access to Free Wi-Fi then, why not put your $1.5 Billion into building a DECENT free Wi-Fi network across New Zealand?

Until New Zealand has a decent network of free wi-fi that general public can use for what they want, the mobile internet in NZ will choke and suffer at the hands of the ever greedy Telecom & Vodafone


I know there MUST be places around NZ that offer true free wi-fi, so why not drop me a comment below and I’ll build up a list here of great places that offer true Free Wi-Fi for kiwis.


2 Responses


My experiences with NZ Internet are different. If you want to be a global Internet player (although surprisingly, you are more then I would expect), it’s the international connectivity/latency that’s sadly lacking. I don’t buy the whole “we’re isolated and far away” point. Lay down some serious cables/satellite connections – redundant, fast and abundant.

And while I’m all for companies looking after their customers – if they DON’T it’s really becoming a matter of national strategic interest to do something about it.


We do play on the world stage, but we drive a Toyota Echo (Yaris) while the other players are driving Porsche’s … the government needs to do more to open up the interent infrastructure here – and significantly lower costs to where it’s a no cost item