NZ is a magical place – except for the lousy internet

Rob Schnabel from the US is visiting – and has something to say:

I have a young business based in New York City. I create street wear inspired by rugby. [The site is] I arrived in New Zealand for the second half of the Rugby World Cup – a massive event for a rugby-crazy Yank like myself. My mission is to explore the market and look for opportunities beyond what the virtual web can give you by simply searching Google. You have to live the culture to understand your customer and chances in that realm. New Zealand has a lot of promise for my brand.

I come from America’s epicenter of the urban way of life. Arriving in Wellington was a small state of shock and further more by the time I arrived in Blenheim, just a hop across the Strait on the south island. The area is what I heard about and more. The environment is lush with sun, farmlands, fresh air and ocean breezes. What I did not expect was the lack of efficient speeds of internet usage. This is a big problem for my trip abroad because it retards my timely communication back home both personally and for business.

My usage needs are simple. I work heavily in graphics and social media that require breezy speeds to explore (stock sites), downloads and uploads (graphic files) and streaming videos (social media). Upload and downloading speeds are painstaking at times and browsing pages for both research and entertainment is laborious when trying to work quickly and efficiently. The spotty bandwith at the local library doesn’t allow dependable Skype calls to take place and costly to work around. This isn’t the case with all of New Zealand by no means, but a problem still depending on how remote you travel. I wonder what someone from Japan thinks when they travel abroad and use the internet in America for example, bandwidth in Japan is crazy fast and they have sites that take eons to load even in places like New York.

It’s tough to criticize when you’re out of your comfort zone. Discovering differences is part of the beauty of traveling. But when doing business abroad while trying to seal deals and make ends meet gets jeopardized by basic communication, you have an obstacle to work around and overcome. New Zealand is a magical place. Warm people, environment of mythical proportions and a 1st rate traveling opportunity for anyone. I’ve met many backpackers in a short amount of time and most of them are starved of keeping in touch with family and friends back home – and I for one, am debating my time spent here because I cannot jeopardize my commitments back home because of bandwidth – but it sorta is and it’s unfortunate.

By no means is this a gripe or a stain of my impression of New Zealand. It’s food for thought if New Zealand wants to advocate more global integration by having the means to let travelers work more effectively while on holiday or conduct business in the most exotic of locations. It can only be a plus for everyone involved and benefiting.

Published by Lance Wiggs


5 replies on “NZ is a magical place – except for the lousy internet”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. The lousy internet access is stopping business as well as tourists here in NZ. And lets not even mention how far backward online video is! It’s not just speed, it’s also that everything is capped and metered. You can’t get unlimited broadband or 3G – it doesn’t seem to exist let alone it being the norm.


  2. You cannot compare a place like New York with Marlborough. I bet there are parts of the USA where you don’t get internet either.

    Anyway, we are in the process of a national fibre optic build, not doubt, once this is completed most of the NZ population will have very good internet. Probably even better than many parts of the USA.

    The question will be the data caps.


  3. You’re right Jed. I’m sure there are farm towns in the States that are still lagging. The same example could be said for comparing New York/Blenheim – you cannot compare landmass of New Zealand with the USA. New Zealand is more compact and one would think wireless or cable work would be easier to zero in on than covering the distances of North America.

    I surely don’t want to assume, but I’ve learned heaps about the business of wiring this country since writing this article. It’s more complicated than first thought.


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