While New Zealand is a remarkably beautiful place full of wonderful people, there is one great drawback to the country – it has terrible Internet service. The hotel in Auckland was merely antediluvian: the idea that 200 Mb of traffic is a “monthly” allowance is just absurd. Auckland airport was actually OK. I gave me 100 Mb of download for NZ$10. I wish I had been there longer. But the hotel in Wellington was a disaster.
I’m not too upset with Mercure over this. They don’t provide the ISP service themselves, and by the look of the face of the guy on the front desk when I checked out I’m by no means the only unhappy customer. I think the message is getting through that they need to change providers. 100 Mb / day at $40 is pretty steep compared to the airport charge, but that assumes that you get 100 Mb. Watching my email download, and checking the usage meter, it was pretty clear that either I had some very big incoming downloads (much bigger than the ones that had come in while I was at Auckland airport) or the meter was over-clocking. I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on that, but there’s no way I believe that logging onto Facebook for a minute or so would have chewed up around 11 Mb.
I can’t see any obvious reason why Internet access in NZ should be so expensive, other than lack of both competition and effective regulation. The country doesn’t lack a decent phone service; it should be able to provide DSL just like anywhere else in the world. And even if there service is expensive, there’s no excuse for cheating customers by over-counting their usage.