Our Looking Glass World

Sweden has the highest penetration of PCs in the world, and at 60 percent the highest proportion of internet users.
Technically also it is second to none. Already, thanks to government subsidies, many Swedish users are permanently online at 10Mb/sec, which gives them radio, television, downline video loans, instant communications, and reduces to nothing the distance between home and office.
Because it wants to survive and flourish on Planet E, Sweden is determined to remain at the top on all counts, so its government is spending $2 billion to install fibre-optic backbone throughout the country. From there, private companies are subsidised to deliver the service to users, with distance determining the level of subsidy – the more remote, the higher the subsidy.
In New Zealand, everything is left to the oh-so-wise lottery of private enterprise and the Pee-Wee Share.
The piddling best the latter can manage is to compel Telecom Rex to guarantee us top speed of 14.4kbps over 95 percent of the country and 9.6kbps over 99 percent – leaving pigeons, snails or tom-toms for the 39,000 people who happen to be left over.
Our best is also to turn down bureaucratically flat proposal for the Government to build Kiwi Supernet, high-tech portal whose facilities would include automatically indexing every single New Zealand page with highly advanced searching systems, thus making our products and services available to the entire eWorld in superior way.
Our best is not worth spit on the silicon shore. But wait: in the 19th century we had the first refrigerated shipment of meat, so we are making progress…
As the old Roman saying neatly puts it: “Two men may do the same thing and it is not the same thing.” In this case, two countries.

So-called loyalty schemes, in which companies blatantly attempt to bribe people to keep doing business with them, are an unreal way of regarding customers. They ignore the fact that loyalty is what makes people truly loyal. If you stick to your customers by giving them excellence in service, support and quality, and charge them only fair prices, they will stick to you.
Telecom Rex recently fired up second-stage bribery, which heaps the unreal on the unreal, because it is blatant attempt to bribe customers to accept the first bribe (which we must assume was not working too well). In this case T. Rex offered an avalanche of Sony goodies to those who “earned” more Talking Points.
But the four-page glossy brochure in which all that was laid temptingly before us included very interesting item on the back page. Next to the page-head “Tech Savvy” we were offered – for mere 62,500 points – Swann SpeedDemon 56kbps External Modem.
The only problem is that under the Pee-Wee Share T. Rex has to “guarantee” maximum of 14.4kbps over ordinary phone lines in 95 percent of Enzed, further four percent is “guaranteed” 9.6kbps; the other one percent must use smoke-signals off its BBQs (you sign off by cremating cheerio).
In the same mail-out, T. Rex announced that further eight exchanges were offering ADSL (and, by the way, that you can get an ADSL modem for mere 260,000 T. Rex roaring-points), and it was spending $1 million to get ADSL out to more-‘n-more people.
ADSL, of course, costs cake and cream. Yer Pee Wee phone line only costs bread and butter. Detect small nudge from the Big Toothy Beast? Detect also the reason why the Public Network is elderly, run down and mysteriously incapable of doing 56k?

Nobilangelo Ceramalus: Writer, commentator, journalist, desktop publisher, graphics-designer, illustrator, webmaster, photographer.

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