Stephen Fry’s NZ Broadband Tweets And The Entrepreneurs Organization Conference

There’s been a Mega embarrassment for New Zealand this week as Stephen Fry criticised the lack of a decent broadband service at the same time that the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) were having their international ‘university’ conference in Queenstown.

Stephen Fry made the comments in his Twitter blogs. It’s shocking that the country that brought you Avatar in glorious 3D, and the Mega Upload/Dotcom scandal, can’t even offer a reasonably priced, first world broadband communications service:

The EO is an international grouping of 8000 business founders from 40 countries. It meets twice a year to offer inspiration and networking opportunities. Among those present in Queenstown are Craig Nevill-Manning, director of engineering at Google; his wife Kirsten, director of human resources at Facebook; Sarah Robb O’Hagan, PepsiCo’s Gatorade president North America and global chief marketing office;, and Linda Jenkinson, founder of multinational provider of concierge services Les Concierges (source) So far none of them have yet tweeted about New Zealand’s internet, nor given public comment.

But this is what Stephen Fry had to say to his Twitter followers.

New Zealand so fine. It they have probably the worst. Broadband I’ve ever encountered. Turns itself off slows to a crawl. Pathetic. Rise up, Kiwis and demand better? You wouldn’t allow crap roads with pot holes and single file. Hats what youve got BBwise a smart guy could I know, it’s feeble to moan. I’m on set now. It’s 6:15 and the wifi here is good. But I have So many videos and sound files to upload.

I’m sure another couple of flat whites will cheer me up…I meant “make (not male) a fortune and a fool of the complacent Telecomm and their contemptuous attitude to customers. Phew! Rant over.”

Then later, when the news of his tweets had filtered out he added:

“Well, seem to have stirred up a hornet’s nest. It seems I exceeded a d’load limit and had my BB throttled to a crawl: @TelecomNZ have put this right. Very quick and polite. But I wonder if everyone who complains gets this attention? I think Comcast style throttling is a for the economy it’s disastrous, for visitors for everyone. It won’t stop illegal bit torrentinf. Makes as much sense as closing a lane of traffic because there’s congestion.

Yes, kiwi land is remote, but if Avatar can be made here and MZ wants to keep its rep for being the loveable, easy-going, outdoorsy yet tech savvy place it is, then pressure @telecomNZ into offering better packages.

Kiwis travel. A lot. They know 20MB is routine in Europe ( nothrottling) UK rolling out ultra fast fibreoptic. S Korea miles ahead

Instead of being a technologically advanced and internet savvy country, New Zealand’s broadband services are third rate.

Come on New Zealand. You’re world champions at rugby & filmmaking. Pressure the providers to stop it being a digital embarrassment.”

Mr Fry has struck a chord with many New Zealanders who have backed up his comments in many ways. This is what they’re saying on the message board at

  • Good on you Stephen, get your own back ! No one here picked up the Baftas, which I hear you did a marvellous job of compering.
  • Stephen fry is right about the data caps and slow speeds. New Zealand’s broadband is a major digital embarrassment, and it’s disastrous for our economy.  John Key can say “oh, but in five years time we’ll have ULTRA ULTRA fast broadband”. But guess what, we should have ADSL2 by now, but most of us don’t. When fibre comes out, it’ll be expensive. In the meanwhile, enjoy your ADSL1, suckers!
  • Telecom sucks our money up and invests it in Australia.
  • I agree its crap. Slow. Limited. Time to vote off THE WEAKEST LINK. Telecon for starters.
  • We’re getting a big one rammed right up us…….bone dry.
  • It’s nothing we all didn’t know and the govt are throwing millions of taxpayers money at an inefficient service.
  • we in tauranga are getting ultra fast broadband,, coming soon installing now,, wooppee,, contractor is getting 5mil for the job,.,
  • My bro lives in Japan and says our boradband is slow compared to theirs,,
  • We have had really fast VDSL2 available in my area for nearly 2 years but no one seems to be selling it – we will soon be getting the fibre UFBB in a couple of months, too.
  • slingshot is so slow in the evenings that if you want to post on this  MB you have to do it the day before,I put up this reply yesterday,hope it makes it in time,if you cant see it it hasn’t arrived yet
  • Dont believe it will be cheap when it does come, does anyone believe government propaganda, we will be fleeced n milked for it, especially with line charges. they were laying fiber optic cable back in 1987, its not new tech, they could have done it all 20 years ago.
  • We are slow compared to everyone else in the world, not just Japan. NZ seems to be the only country that puts a cap on broadband…

7 thoughts on “Stephen Fry’s NZ Broadband Tweets And The Entrepreneurs Organization Conference

  1. NZ’s risk of disconnection from the Internet – In New Zealand, the internet is dependent on a single submarine cable operator that is owned in its majority by Telecom New Zealand. Telecom has been slammed with a large fine for anti-competitive conduct in New Zealand. There is one operator and two submarine cable landing points.

  2. NZ hides behind the “broadband” curtain. It’s faster than “dial-up”, so it’s modern, right?
    So, what’s the problem, “she’ll be right”.
    EVERYTHING in NZ is expensive, and not quite up to first world stanard.
    Cell phone, internet, electricity, fuel… The list goes on. The cost of living is high, wages low.
    It also seems as though there is a stigma about asking about prices, as if it’s unheard of to comparison shop. Mostly, it is, because the list of suppliers is so small, you learn to just be happy that you can even find what you’re looking for, you don’t ask “how much?”.
    This is indeed a compromise, you compromise quality and choice. I’m not convinced that the trade off is worth it. You learn to do with less, not entirely a bad thing, but, even after 6 years in NZ, I’m still a victim of “sticker shock” on just about everything.
    Specifically, broadband; there are data caps [limit of monthly data] that is generally unheard of, and the cost is high. Telecom’s Total Home broadband and landline plan [60gb of broadband and landline for local calls] is $115/month.
    The government is funding a $1.5B fibre optic roll out. The networks should be doing this out of the profits made on service, but with a lack of competition [few providers] they [telcos] can sit back and wait, because where are you going to go? Not to another telco, there aren’t any others. So, you’re stuck, paying through the nose for poor quality service, as is the case with most things in NZ.

  3. It is frustrating to send photos to my friends in NZ as they take 1.5 hours to download the pictures which are taken on a 14 Megapixel which is the norm these days for digital cameras. I am being reminded not to include them in the email which I often forget.
    The photo downloading frustrates some familes as their broadband capacities are used up with emails from overseas with faster broadband.
    In Europe, there is no cap and the broadband is as fast as it can get. It is also a quarter of the prices we are paying in NZ before…so who is profiteering from the Kiwis??? In NZ, you have to pay extra for a landline. No such thing here. You pay one price for both internet and landline and the company gives you the broadband server for free. Remember why the CEOs of Telecoms are always getting million dollars pay packages.

  4. It’s so slow. So capped. So expensive. When friends abroad tell me what they can get over the Internet, and what they pay for it, and the speed, I just drool helplessly onto my keyboard. 😦 I pay 140 a month for residential telephone and 60 gigs a month, but I run a business and need to upload and download a lot of files. I don’t bother with streaming, either, there is no flow, it starts and stops, so frustrating. I would love to get Netflix because the TV sux here.

    Thanks Kal James! Does Socksify work the same as Spotify and hidemyass or are they different things?

  5. Yes NZ does have crap internet I completely agree.

    I pay $111 a month for unlimited broadband through slingshot which includes a phone line (which I dont even use)
    Having unlimited data is awesome HOWEVER any international steaming is poor.
    I use HMA to watch HULU in America; I love it however because NZ international bandwidth is so crap buffing every 15 mins or so happens (dont even bother streaming HD tv international)
    I wrote a guide on how I get Hulu to work in New Zealand; also Spotify works using the same methods.

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