We would love to unmeter Spotify, and others: Orcon
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The streaming music provider Spotify is set to launch in New Zealand – but will any of the major ISPs provide unmetered access to the service?
Spotify provides streaming music with an average bitrate of 160 Kbps (although 90 Kbps, and 360 Kbps are also available). If played for two hours every day for a month this would consume around 4 GB of data.
Computerworld has approached New Zealand telcos to ask if they plan to zero-rate data from Spotify, or other streaming media services like Rdio and Grooveshark. Below are their responses.
Orcon head of communications Quentin Reade says the company was approached by Spotify a few months ago to talk about zero-rated data and the general state of New Zealand's broadband internet.
These talks were informal, and since the initial conversations Spotify has not come back to Orcon with a final launch date for New Zealand, says Reade.
Orcon is the content delivery network (CDN) for e-cast and iSky, which is provided to Sky TV customers unmetered over the Orcon network.
Reade says that Orcon is looking to provide more unmetered services in the near future, and is actively seeking content providers in New Zealand to partner with.
"We would love to offer Spotify or other streaming services unmetered in much the same way as we do with iSky," says Reade.
According to Reade, Orcon has spoken to two streaming media services about zero-rated data. He says there are up to eight similar services which are planning to launch in New Zealand in the near future. Due to commercial sensitivities, Reade was unable to disclose what those services were or how much involvement Orcon would have with their launches.
Mark Callander, CEO of Slingshot, says the ISP has had discussions with Spotify, but no final decisions were reached regarding services or launch dates.
He adds that Slingshot will be engaging with Spotify to be a part of its plans in New Zealand.
"Slingshot would be prepared to support Spotify and unmeter the traffic as it does for other content services such as iSky," says Callander.
Maxnet has not been approached by Spotify, but similar streaming services will help Maxnet differentiate itself from other ISPs says Andrew Shick, head of internet services.
"Their [Spotify's] arrival will put pressure on some of the lower cost ISPs to deliver a consistent customer service," says Schick.
"Our recent upgrades to our ISP platform have been designed around this type of 'real-time use', and [the platform] is well positioned for the 'internet generation' who expect this type of service to just work all day, every day."
Last week, Maxnet announced an unlimited broadband plan for $100 per month.
When asked if Maxnet would be providing any Ultra Fast Broadband retail pricing plans in the near future, Schick said the company was "finalising" but did not want to "rush" its announcement, taking a dig at competitor Orcon.
"We didn't want to be the first, but not be able to deliver. We want to do it right, unlike some of our competitors," says Schick.
Vodafone does not have any current plans to zero-rate Spotify services, but this is definitely under consideration says a spokesperson.
Telecom's chief marketing officer Jason Paris says he is excited about the upcoming launch of Spotify in New Zealand, but is unable to go into details about any conversations that may have occurred with Spotify.
A spokesman for the company says it is unable to comment on any possible discussions with Spotify.
A 2degrees spokesperson says, "We don’t announce products or services before we’re ready to launch them."
Skinny (which is an offshoot of Telecom) has not yet responded to Computerworld enquiries.
Spotify streams a catalogue of 15 million songs for a monthly fee, or a limited catalogue for free with advertising. Last year Computerworld reported Spotify would launch in New Zealand in early 2012, going on reports from music industry blog Digital Music News which said the service was likely to launch here in February.
Any cable TV customer gets unmetered access via a cable network. This is the same infrastructure as used for an Internet feed, but is paid for via a fee for the cable TV service. Admittedly it isn't that flexible, and is segregated from the internet, but there is a model there.
In the UFB world, you may see exactly this scenario being played out - Internet from one supplier and "content" from either the same (or a different) supplier.
Posted by Anonymous at 12:02:18 on March 20, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 7:16:10 on March 20, 2012
Given Orcon's UFB plans of 1TB unmetered will start to be less of an issue when 1TB plans become the norm and heavy users of Netflix and similar will get larger or unlimited data plans
Posted by Anonymous at 8:36:24 on March 20, 2012
However, what happened to "user pays"?
Only a percentage of clients use Sky or would listen to Spotify's music. Why should the rest of us 'pay' for such (by means of a bite out of our monthly fees or because those costs have been folded into paid-traffic charges)? Surely, someone, somewhere, has to cover the costs of streaming these services.
Isn't the issue governed more by the paucity of usage allowances - see the Orcon (and other ISP's) service plans? So if I consume 1GB of traffic now, for the standard price; and then go on to add the example 2GB of Spotify use, why not raise the 'standard' to 3GB and be done? That way Spotify-iers are happy AND non-Spotify users may do with their allowance what they will!
Everyone a happy customer, or 'we only want head-bangers as customers'...
Posted by Orcon client at 11:41:46 on March 20, 2012