Meanwhile, in the Real World…

By Jim McVeagh 05/12/2010


Tucked in a corner of the Herald on Sunday in this little gem.

Rights salvo fired at Slingshot

It could be dubbed the Slingshot law.

Consumer organisations have singled out the company while asking the Government to force phone and internet companies to a scheme designed to protect customer rights.

And the Government has signalled it is prepared to listen to rein in phone and internet customers that refuse to be accountable.

It think the word customers was actually meant to be providers. At least, I hope it was…

I have never been able to understand the purpose of a watchdog for internet service providers. The competition out there is fierce and the cost of changing providers is now, essentially, zero. In the old days (10 years ago), when there were few providers – who did not cover all areas – and your e-mail address was given to you by the ISP, it was a big deal to change providers. Nowadays your ISP provider address is irrelevant (Gmail, anyone?) and ISPs are positively falling over each other to provide you with their latest offering.

It therefore is something of a mystery to me why ISPs should be bullied into joining yet another quango designed to “protect consumer rights”. Surely, if anyone is fed up with their ISPs service or attitude, they can simply close their account and find another provider? I have changed my ISP four times in the six years I have been in Auckland. Twice for slow connection speeds and once for an erratic connection that the ISP (TelstraClear) seemed uninterested in fixing. I have now been with Orcon for about 6 months and so far, so good. Their speed is a little slower than TelstraClear’s, but at least the connection is stable.

And therein lies the point. If Slingshot continues to irritate their customers with poor service, they will soon have no customers. There is simply no need for another expensive quango to monitor ISPs. In a real-world environment, Slingshot will just have to buck up its service or die.

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