Free stuff is wonderful. Orcon’s O Zone gives you free stuff. Free Trademe, free NZOnScreen, and free iSky data among other things. Complaining about O Zone is a bit mean-spirited surely? Orcon certainly seemed to think so when I inquired about the recent removal of TVNZ from the O Zone:
“People are obviously disappointed that we are removing TVNZ from the O Zone. i.e. They appreciated having it in there in the first place. I haven’t seen any angst about the philosophy behind the O Zone. It’s surely better than having no zero rated content, don’t you think?”
Oh yes, it’s great! I don’t have to eat into my data cap when I use these services.
Thing is, being with Orcon means I have to make a choice. Do I visit the NZ Herald site for news, or do I go to Stuff.co.nz? One of those sites costs me data, the other doesn’t. I can never remember which. Do I listen to George for free, or stream The Rock and eat into my bandwidth cap?
Not too dramatic really. Stuff uses bugger-all data and I hate The Rock with a passion (sorry Andrew Mulligan). If I’m honest, I never really used TVNZ OnDemand and haven’t even logged in to iSky.
So I get nothing from Orcon’s O Zone, yet it still bothers me. The very principle of my ISP choosing the price of my content and where I get if from is irksome.
A law has just been passed in the Netherlands banning mobile phone operators from blocking and/or charging differently for data traffic on their networks. This came about because said mobile operators were scanning their users’ traffic and blocking traffic to Skype and WhatsApp: both applications that enable users to make calls or send SMS messages without being charged over and above the data traffic generated.
Blocking traffic that competes with your own is highly nefarious. Certainly more so than the O Zone. But consider this: if iSky was zero rated on every ISP, and TVNZ was not zero rated on any, would this be a problem of a similar level to the Netherlands?
Or does it only count if Sky runs an ISP and charges for TVNZ traffic?
What if Orcon owns Sky’s video content delivery system (and presumably makes money off it from Sky) and charges for TVNZ traffic but not Sky’s?
What if a new on-demand video provider was not zero-rated by iSky was?
What about you?
Is this all irrelevant? Does anyone in New Zealand choose their ISP based on these free packages? Do you?