InternetNZ paper asks why NZ has data caps

Posted in: Government & Policy at 05/08/2011 19:48

InternetNZ has published a discussion paper that looks at New Zealand's low data caps. Most countries have no limit on data that can be downloaded each months. In those that do, 1 terabyte (1TB or 1000GB) is the new mark for power users.

The discussion paper is called Barriers to Unmetered Domestic Internet Traffic and contains the views of 28 Internet industry players, including small and medium ISPS, telcos and content providers, about why New Zealand traffic is metered even when it is domestic, and how the advent of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) would change this.

To read this National Business Review article in full, see:

Also see:

InternetNZ considers barriers to increasing data caps
Over the past year, Australian ISPs have lifted their data caps "significantly", says a new InternetNZ report, as a result of a competitive "data cap war" among ISPs. "Terabyte caps are now common there," it says, "but New Zealand's caps remain among the lowest in the world."

InternetNZ commissioned the report from independent consultant - and former InternetNZ president - Colin Jackson, aiming to stimulate discussion on the stance the organisation should take in attempting to influence future policy on caps, in an era of more efficient and plentiful domestic broadband.

InternetNZ publishes discussion paper on data caps [news release]
InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has published a discussion paper on Barriers to Unmetered Domestic Internet Traffic. InternetNZ is seeking comments by 26 August on the paper as well as views on what goals can be set in the area of data caps.

The discussion paper is available online at or directly as a PDF from

InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar says "There has been a lot of discussion about monthly limits of Internet usage (data caps) that are typical in New Zealand. This discussion has been both internal within InternetNZ as well as in a number of public forums.

"The discussion has been about the low levels of data caps at present as well as the future shift to fibre-based broadband. On the other hand, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continue to support data caps as effective tools to manage customer demand, keep retail prices low, and contain their investments.

"Against this backdrop, InternetNZ commissioned independent consultant Colin Jackson to talk to a wide range of people and organisations to get their views on why New Zealand has data caps. Recording and articulating these views is a first step towards considering what our goals and initiatives should be in this area.

"It is clear that New Zealand's very low data caps are a result of a number of factors. These range from market failure, lack of concerted consumer pressure, and fears of consumer confusion. The recent increase in fixed-line broadband data caps by Telecom and Vodafone only underline how much room there is for the major Internet Service Providers to move on this issue.

"We believe it is important to understand the perspectives of Internet intermediaries and content providers so that a well informed discussion on addressing low data caps takes place. At the end of the day, we hope that the discussion will lead to action. Otherwise the true potential of the Internet for Kiwis will remain a mirage as we fall behind other countries."

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