Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

On Technology.
October 13, 2007, 9:43 am
Filed under: Ask a Canuck | Tags: , , ,

Today I am introducing a new segment called “Ask a Canuck.”  This is where I answer specific questions on things about New Zealand and my take on them.  And as soon as I make friends here, I can start an equivalent segment called “Ask a Kiwi”.  I’ll get right on that after I write this, have a shower, fight some more with Flickr so I can show you my photos and THEN finally go to the Farmer’s Market.

Today’s question from Monique is: Is Canada lagging behind New Zealand in technology?

I think it works both ways.  Some things here are maddeningly easy, while some things back home are maddeningly better.

Of course, cellphone use and prevalence has penetrated North America to less of an extent as in Europe, Australia or New Zealand.  Everyone here has had them for some time now, whereas I only signed up for a cellphone when my Dad found a long forgotten, spinach green display, Nokia clunker in the bottom of a box during the Christmas of 2005.  A lot of text messages get sent here too because bulk messaging plans are included almost as a default on a cellphone purchase.  Talk time is relatively more expensive.

My office here is completely wireless, with everybody having their own laptop.  Wireless internet works very well in open concept offices so this is a reasonable way to go.  When you work in a Victorian-era mansion like I do in Barrie, all that hidden brick makes things a little more difficult.  Plus, laptops are very expensive in Canada (or so I am told).

I was also given a Palm Pilot to work with here.  You should’ve seen me fumble around with that on Day 2.  It is currently collecting dust at the back of a desk drawer.

Everybody also raves about digital cable.  I’m too workaholic and uninterested to pay for exceptional tv, so I’m assuming that’s like Bell Expressvu back home.  Then again, the 1000-channel universe has about 300 pay-per-view stations…

So the toys down here are way way way better thus far.  But in terms of service quality, the smaller population here makes things a little more difficult.

For example, there are only two cellphone providers here: the heartless multinational (Vodaphone, you see there ads on rugby kits), and the little guy (Telecom NZ, an equivalent to Bell in Ontario or Telus out west).  I went with the big guy because they have a pretty decent special on right now.  The “special” costs about the same as the plan I haggled out of Rogers back home.  The signal is as strong in Auckland as it was in Barrie.  I figure it’s a draw, except that there isn’t as much choice for service.

I’m a big internet junkie and that’s where I find the differences lie.  There is no “cable internet” per se, therefor you, at a minimum, need to explain to the phone line operator (TelecomNZ) why you don’t want to run with them anymore.  Quite inconvenient.  I’ve stuck with Telecom anyways.  Lastly is this ridiculous data cap.  Rogers has a data cap on internet use: 60 GB for us high speed users at a plan cost of $50.  It’s also especially quick – as high as 450 kb/sec for me!  I pay $50/month for that.  As for my New Zealand plan, $60/month (a little less than Rogers with currency converted) gets me a 10 GB plan running at 350 kb/sec.  I’m having a lot of difficulty doing internet-based work (such as writing this post) and streaming audio online, which means my CBC Radio 3 listening time will be compromised.  And in case you were wondering, I have used 4% of my data allowance for the month over the last 4 days, so things look pretty good on that front if I continue to not download things.

So in conclusion, the hardware availability is better, but the service quality is not. I’ll call it a technology draw.

If you have a specific question about something New Zealand, send me an e-mail.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

a few comments

i) laptops are not very expensive in NA. they are not even that expensive at that.
ii) while brick does impact wireless, it’s much more likely that stuff in between the brick (chicken wire, metal, etc) that is really affecting the wireless signal
iii) It’s only your (in the most generalized use of that term) choice that you are subjecting yourself to Roger’s ridiculous fees/limitations. There are cheaper solutions that are just as reliable, if not better, that don’t have data limits, and don’t have traffic shaping for things like Bittorrent and such. If people did the tiniest bit of research, Rogers be in a much poorer position.
iv) Bell Expressvu is a satellite service. It isn’t digital cable. A more apt comparison would be any digital service offered by a cable tv provider (e.g. Rogers Digital Cable).

Comment by Jason Tsang

are you and Jason twins ???

Comment by Blacksheep

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