Webslice adds Lets Encrypt across the board!

Lets Encrypt logo

I was playing around with one of my sites the other day and I realised it was running under https:// which was strange because I never bought a certificate or set it up.

After a bit of playing around it appeared that two other sites worked under https:// as well. None of which were configured by me. All were running WordPress. At this point I thought they had buggered up a setting so I raised a support ticket with my hosting provider Webslice.

The quick reply was,”We are offering free Let’s encrypted SSL for all the domains now.”

Lets Encrypt

For those of you who don’t know what Lets Encrypt is then its best to start with SSL. SSL is the encryption that protects your data on websites such as banks and Facebook. Anywhere where you login with a password should be encrypted otherwise your login and password just got sent and anyone in the middle of you and the website can read it.

This used to rely on certificates that were provided by trusted certificate authorities such as GlobalSign, Comodo and Symantec. The problem was, this was expensive. I saw a price yesterday of $150NZ for a two year certificate for one domain.

In comes Lets Encrypt. They “give people the digital certificates they need in order to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for websites, for free, in the most user-friendly way we can. We do this because we want to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web.”

And they recently issued their 100,000,000th certificate.

What this means is that now everybody can be encrypted using a trusted provider that is free. Our data just got safer. Our privacy just got private. It also means that hosting companies can roll out free SSL across their infrastructure which is exactly what Webslice have done.

Lets Encrypt logo
The Lets Encrypt logo is a trademark of the Internet Security Research Group. All rights reserved.

 

If you are using WordPress you may need to make a couple of changes.

Aotea FM Great Barrier Islands Solar Powered Radio Station

Aotea FM logo

Aotea FM has come a long way in a relatively short time. From an initial small set of batteries and a couple of solar panels up a hill it now has three transmitting stations to cover as much of the Island as possible and a new broadcasting hut near the Claris shops.

That’s not a bad feat for an Island with no power grid.

It offers Island news, interviews, and an outlet for people to share their diverse tastes in music and culture. There is also the occasional weather forecast which can start at Great Barrier but stretch all the way into the Pacific in order to give surfers an idea what might be coming.

Aotea FM is run by volunteers as a local not for profit community effort. These volunteers do more than just play DJ. They have built the transmitters, the radio shack, governance, provided money and time, and occasionally they have to run up a hill to start a generator if there has been heavy cloud for a couple of days.

A weekly schedule can  look like a who’s who of the Island population, for example…..


Monday
08:00 – Kick Start with Brownie
10:30 – The Cure (Michelle & Marie)
13:00 – The Adam from Okupu Show
15:30 – Mystery Monday with Sharon

Tuesday
08:00 – The Breakfast Club (John Tate)
10:30 – Leebee’s Lunch Break
13:00 – The Rook show
15:30 – The Penny Drops

Wednesday
08:00 – “T” in the morning
10:30 – Nikki’s of Angels, Love & Horses
13:00 – L’Indie’sClassicJazz’nBlues
15:30 – Cool Grooves & Hot Tracks

Thursday
10:30 – Leebee & Lenny’s Music Mayhem
13:00 – Ngaire’s Thursday Cruize
15:30 – Cool Grooves & Hot Tracks

Friday
08:00 – Kit’s Morning Catch Up
10:30 – Phill’s Friday Fiasco
13:00 – Off the Record with Kathy
15:30 – Sali (Stolen Tuesday)

Saturday
08:00 – DJ Fresh
10:30 – Toni’s Top 10
13:00 – Stop it! Live with Leon
15:30 – Sharon’s Saturday Arvo

Sunday
10:30 – Sunday Buzz (Joseph Hodgetts)
13:00 – Tala’s Sunday session
15:30 – Lars and the Real Show


And you don’t have to be on the Barrier to listen. AoteaFM streams live online!





AoteaFM Collage

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.

 

Vaccination

vaccination

At 7:56 am on the 17th of May 2016 RNZ reported on Concerns that people are being coerced into being vaccinated by the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group. All well and fine, but shortly afterwards (8:54 am on 17 May 2016) there was a rebuttal interview with Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre. Still all well and fine, but then up popped a rebuttal of the rebuttal not on RNZ but instead on social media and Youtube where the spokesperson of the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group showed evidence via a series of slides while the interview played over the top.

It is this rebuttal that this post is about. According to the slides she was misquoted, Nikki Turner either ignorantly or wilfully mislead the public, and everything she had said had a sound reasoned basis to it. It turns out that isn’t true. 75% of the references lead back to one website run by James Mercola. An American who is, in his own words, running “The World’s #1 Natural Health Website” and in the words of his critics “Mercola publishes daily risk-based attacks by heavily syndicated “news” blogs which are frequently afterwards tied to his choice “safe” product alternatives to possibly heal a ill or risk promoted in his explanation articles.”

Vaccination Video

And here is my ten cents on the videos slides.

I will list the slides on the video by time.

0:44 Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases
The slide is of the Natural News website. A blog that well…read the wiki entry. The “Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases” entry is based on the clinical papers of Dr Klenner which were published in between 1949 and 1970. The scientific consensus is that while vitamin C dificiency will harm a sick patient there appears to be no papers I can find that regard vitamin C as a cure for measles. However, vitamin A is used in the treatment of measles. Vitamin C isn’t toxic though so it probably won’t hurt to try, but you should probably read this first.

0:48 Vitamin C the miracle treatment that cured man on the brink of death
An unnamed website. So I have googled it and found that it is a mercola.com. A website and company run by James Mercola. He is also listed on Quackwatch.

1:10 Unnamed website
After a quick search it turns out to be the Mercola website again. See above.

1:20 Do you need to be afraid of measles?

1:22 This is not true. Katherine Smith did not talk about herbal medicine.
Yes she did. She recommended people see a Doctor or a Naturopath. A naturopath is,”a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homoeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counselling.” She also identified herself as a herbalist and stated that she had looked into it professionally.

1:30 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

1:34 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

2:07 Measles vaccine more dangerous than measles itself
Another screenshot from the Mercola website. See 0:48. I would suggest you read this. Especially this bit,”But in endemic areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the measles case fatality ratio often ranges from 5%–10%.”

2:28 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:36 Studies show measles vax spreads virus
The website is The Healthy Economist, there are links to the studies at the bottom of the page. It also says this at the bottom of the page.

“The number of measles deaths declined from 7575 in 1920 (10,000 per year in many years in the 1910s) to an average of 432 each year from 1958-1962.17 The vaccine was introduced in 1963. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been no deaths from measles in the U.S. and 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine.”

Which would suggest the vaccine is far safer with 1.8 deaths per annum vs 432 in the unvaccinated population in America.

2:49 Measles vaccine likely caused the death of four infants in Nepal, say authorities.
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:56 Twins die minutes after measles vaccination
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

3:04 Unnamed website
Probably this page on a website that advises,”*The information we provide access to is not intended, nor designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.” Further reading on the website founder can be found here.

3:30 Alert recently vaccinated in individuals can spread disease
I was unable to find this slide anywhere.

3:41 Measles vaccine undeniably linked to autism
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

4:04 Most pro-vaxxers have never even looked at a vaccine package insert
Suggested reading.

4:08 CDC whistleblower statement
He has also released another statement,”I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.” and the paper has not been retracted. Full statement is on here (sorry, I can’t find the original) and a wider discussion is here.

4:41 unamed website
Mercola again. See 0:48.

5:08 Inflammatory staged vaccine photo

5:16 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

My impression of this rebuttal is not good. Basically it is repeats the views of four websites; Natural News (1 time), Mercola (9 times), Greenmedinfo(1 time) and The Healthy Home Economist (1 time). The views of Mercola are reapeated 9/12 times or 75% as proof that Katherine Smith’s assertions (rebutal as least) are correct. To quote wikipedia,”In 2005, 2006, and 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products’ ability to detect, prevent, and treat disease.” Further referenced reading on Mercola can be found here and here.

I mean really. If you want to back your views, this is not the way to do it and Mercola.com is not the company you should be referencing. All the anti vaccination lobby, that is really what the ‘No Forced Vaccinations’ group is a front for, need to do is to use their funding (which they get a lot of) to do some actual scientific air tight studies and when the study is criticised to take that critique on board and do an even better study instead of being the mouth piece of a company that appears to prey on peoples fears in order to make money.

Internet upgrades

Internet Upgrades

It looks like the Local Board and everybody contacting Chorus and Ministers with their concerns might be having some effect. Amy Adams sent this the other day.

Internet Upgrades

Dear Mr Harre

Thank you for your email dated 6 March 2016 to Hon Nikki Kaye, Member of
Parliament for Auckland Central, regarding broadband services on Great Barrier
Island. The matters you raise fall within my portfolio responsibilities as Minister for
Communications, and have therefore been forwarded to me for response.

I can understand your frustrations and share your concerns that some
New Zealanders are not able to receive a satisfactory internet connection because of
where they live. That is why this Government has committed to lifting New Zealand’s
broadband performance, and the first phases of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and
Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) programmes are well on their way to delivering
faster speeds to 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders by 2020.

As a Minister of the Crown, I am unable to intervene in the business operations of
private companies, such as Chorus and Vodafone. However, I have asked my
officials to provide an update on broadband availability on Great Barrier Island. I
understand that you may have already received information from the office of Hon
Nikki Kaye in relation to your email so you may already be aware of some of the
information below.

Chorus has confirmed that it has recently made the decision to upgrade two existing
cabinets on Great Barrier Island by June 2016. This upgrade will improve the speeds
of existing connections and will allow for new customers to be connected. These
upgrades, however, will not extend to the entire Island.

If you still reside at Mason Road, much of the information in my previous letter to
you (reference CITAA1415-410) remains current. It is unlikely that the planned
upgrades will improve the broadband connection to your address. The primary
reason you experience slow speeds at your address is due to your distance of more
than 6km from the cabinet that delivers broadband services to your area. This is
beyond the theoretical limit of ADSL.

I note your comments about slow internet speeds on Great Barrier Island generally.
Chorus has confirmed that, although broadband services are linked to the mainland
(the backhaul link) by Digital Microwave Radio in the Waikato, broadband speeds on
Great Barrier Island are not affected by services in the Waikato. Furthermore,
infrastructure upgrades in the Coromandel have no adverse impact on the
infrastructure that provides services to Great Barrier Island.

Vodafone has confirmed that the RBI towers providing fixed-wireless services to the
Island also use Chorus backhaul. The use of Chorus’ fibre does not impact the
fixed-line access network on Great Barrier Island.

Vodafone has advised my officials that it has a long term commitment to Great
Barrier Island and has managed to provide considerable increased coverage over the
last three years. However, it does not currently have plans for further upgrades.

When planning future upgrades, Vodafone takes into account area population,
potential demand, initial deployment costs, ongoing maintenance and future upgrade
requirements. Upgrading a network outside of Government programmes is a
commercial decision on the part of private companies, such as Vodafone, and will be
driven by network priorities. I am unable to intervene in such decisions.

I note your comment that it would have been desirable to deploy UFB to Great
Barrier Island instead of fixed-wireless broadband under the RBI. While the
Government would like to be able to provide UFB to all, the cost of deployment in
areas with difficult terrain and low population densities means this is not currently
possible, and we have had to prioritise.

Please be assured that this Government is actively seeking ways to help improve
broadband coverage across New Zealand, particularly in rural and more remote
areas. To this end, the Government is extending the UFB programme, entering the
second phase of the RBI programme, and establishing a new Mobile Black Spot
Fund which focuses on areas of state highways and tourism areas that currently
have no coverage. With combined funding of up to $360 million, it is intended that
mobile and broadband coverage will be expanded to many communities across
New Zealand under these programmes.

Yours sincerely,

Hon Amy Adams
Minister for Communications

Broadband Survey

Broadband Survey Results

Two weeks ago I placed an ad in the Barrier Bulletin asking people to give us the results of a test on their broadband. then things went wrong, people were unable to load the page because the internet was to slow, Sparks broadband speed test decided to fail, etc…. but 24 people replied with 32 entries. And, although that isn’t enough people or entries to make any definite observations, I though I would give you a run down of the results so far. On multiple entries by the same person I have taken the best result, because I’m an optimist……I have discounted one entry as I believe that person is also an optimist.

RBI Wireless came out in front with the highest score of 11.3Mbps download speed with results from 5 people. However, one of those entries was 0.49Mbit/sec which brought down the average speed with RBI Wireless to 7.17Mbps.

Next in line was ADSL with a high score of 5.9Mbits/sec download speed with results from 16 people. The lowest was 0.1Mbps with the average download speed for ADSL being 1.69Mbps.

Satellite came third with entries from two people with the highest being 3.97Mbps and the lowest being 0.4Mbps.

What does this mean? Well, nothing really. There aren’t enough entries yet to come to any conclusions apart from please keep filling in the form. And not just when your internet is bad, if you are having a good day then fill it in then as well. The wild variability of the broadband speeds on the Island is one of the problems that needs to be addressed.

As a final consideration think of this. The highest speed recorded so far in the survey is 11.3Mbps. That is less than half the average speed in New Zealand and with that average speed being forecast to reach 75Mbps by the end of the year. It is also more of a ratio than when we moved from 56kbps dial-up to 256kbps broadband, back in the day…..

Thank you to everyone who entered their broadband speed. Please keep on doing so, the more data we get the more information we have.

Preliminary results

Broadband Survey Results

So, we have some preliminary results. Not nearly enough people have done the test yet and some have tried but said,”The Internet was to slow” which is terrible. To make things worse I have heard that the Port Jackson Tower was being worked on and that threw the network out a bit as well.

Still, things aren’t looking good. Out of 29 entries 15 are below 1Mbit. The highest is 11.3Mbit with Vodafone as the provider and that is from the RBI Wireless connections. Already the survey has pointed out a couple of areas that appear to have problems, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to live on Blackwell Drive, but we really need more data. And now, considering the Port Jackson maintenance may have affected things, it might be a good idea to see if you can beat your old score (for better or worse) in a couple of days.

No northerners yet either. If your Internet is too slow then keep on trying folks. If you can’t load a single page then I don’t know what you are paying for.

Preliminary Results

Preliminary Results

Great Barrier Island broadband

Broadband

Dear Nicky Kaye,
Hello from Great Barrier Island! Unfortunately we have become Great Barrier Island the land of unusable broadband and some of the residents on Barrier Chit Chat (Facebook Group) are no doubt sending you email right now. Anyway, I thought I would stick my oar in and give you a little bit of the history of the broadband problem from my point of view.

I live at the end of Mason Road, quite away from the exchange but was able to get good enough speed when we first connected to broadband several years ago. Even then, the exchange was at capacity and if you wanted to go on broadband you had to wait for someone to come off. This sometimes took six or so months as you were in the queue.

When the tower was constructed it sort of hit the community out of the blue, well, my part anyway. By the time it got to a public meeting it was a “tower or nothing” proposal and to make it worse the person at the public meeting knew nothing about Internet or Cell Towers. He was a sales person there to tell us the expected prices of signing up and service. The local board (or at least Paul Downie) were heavily interested in the tower as they believed providing cellphone service would bring more people to the Island and benefit locals. I have no idea whether that is true or not.

I also have no memory whether we used to have the Christmas speed slow downs before the tower. I think we did, but I don’t think it was as bad as it is now, nor as long. There has generally always been a problem on any holidays when everybody jumps online. I believe this is also to do with broadband right the way down Coromandel as we don’t join the main trunk until Hamilton.

And then the tower got built and started using the same network for a whole lot more customers and, to make it worse, video also became vastly more popular leading to large scale traffic problems for many of New Zealand’s ISP s.

Leaving aside the tower being a waste of money (read about that here RBI Great Barrier Island and how I think that comes about The Woes of Great Barrier Island) and concentrating on the current problem, we now have a large amount more data being transferred across an ageing infrastructure that wasn’t copping with the initial amount of data and this is effecting our ability to do everyday tasks such as use the Internet, or do backups.

I might be wrong as getting information on the workings of Chorus and Vodafone is nigh impossible, but I believe we are being hit by multiple problems at the same time.

  • Coromandel infrastructure is still being upgraded.
  • There has been a sudden increase in the use of video on and off Island.
  • The tower relays through the old system instead of relaying straight to the mainland.
  • The exchange was and is to old to maintain the island.
  • The extra customers, from the tower, have overloaded the system.
  • Over holiday periods the entire physical network from GBI to Hamilton overloads.

We may be the only RBI project where the increase in availability has led to a individual decrease in service.

We are now facing a scenario where the problems with broadband are effecting individuals, health providers and trusts on the Island (Aotea Health, Aotea Family Support Group, Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust), and no doubt businesses as well. If this continues we will be become more and more constrained both socially and economically leading to further lack of opportunities and more stress in a place that, while beautiful, is one of the economically poorest places in New Zealand.

At this point I am unsure what could be done to easily correct the problem. The installation of fibre on the island instead of a power hungry cell tower would have cured the local bottle necks but would still have left us exposed to the Coromandel situation. However, that money has been spent and to do fibre on the Island now would cost more than $3,000,000 in my estimate.

I would urge you to gather more information on the Islands telecommunication woes and ask some engineers to come up with a range of solutions. Already we stumble along at 7% of the national average broadband speed for 2015 (24.5 Mbit) and it looks like within a year we will be on the RBI version of dial-up. My fixed line speed at home is currently 0.96 Mbit. It used to be 1.8Mbit when I first arrived.

Yours sincerely,
Tane Harre.

First reply and confirmation from Maggie Beaumont. Sunday, 6 March 2016 6:55 p.m. And, dammit, I got Nikki’s name wrong. Cest la vie.

Maggie Beaumont Reply

Hi Tane

Thank you for your e-mail to Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, concerning Great Barrier Island broadband.

We have forwarded it to Chorus who advise us they have no plans to upgrade the infrastructure at this time due to the financial cost involved.

We have also written to the Minister of Communications, Hon Amy Adams, seeking her comment on the issues you have raised. We appreciate your comprehensive analyse of the situation.

The Minister will respond directly to you in due course, copying Nikki in.

Kind Regards

Maggie Beaumont | Senior MP Support

Hon Nikki Kaye | MP for Auckland Central

48c College Hill, Freemans Bay, Auckland | PO Box 47-658 Ponsonby, Auckland City 1144

T: 09 378 2088

E: mp.aucklandcentral@parliament.govt.nz

www.nikkikaye.co.nz

Reply from Rebecca Kearns.

Dear Mr Harre

Recently the office of Hon Nikki Kaye, Member of Parliament for Auckland Central, has been in contact regarding your email dated 6 March 2016 about inadequate internet services on Great Barrier Island.

This matter falls within the portfolio of Hon Amy Adams, Minister for Communications. As such I have placed your correspondence with the Minister for her consideration and response.

Kind regards

Rebecca

The woes of Great Barrier Island

Woes of Great Barrier Island

For all its woes, Great Barrier Island is one of the greatest places in the world to live. That amazing thing about that statement is that it still holds true after all that gets thrown at the island, or not thrown as the case may be.

There are some major problems that have arisen over the years due to the governance of small isolated populations in New Zealand. They aren’t on purpose, as far as I can tell, they are structural and built into the way we govern to provide fairness, transparency, and prevent corruption for the majority of the population. Note that word, “majority”. What this word means is that if you are a small island community then you get what you are given or nothing at all.

Roading

Let’s take roading. There was once upon a time Island based contractors. Actually there still is. The problem is that they can only operate by being hired by the off island contractors who have already taken any profit out of the contract. And, from a high level perspective this looks fine. Auckland council doesn’t want to have to deal with thousands of small contractors so they contract out for the whole of Auckland. But, there are only two contractors big enough to tender for Auckland. Those two contractors are Fulton Hogan and Downers. One of those companies always ends up with the contract. Unfortunately, each of them is only big enough to do half the job so they hire the other one to do the rest of it. So which ever company wins the negotiations for the contract, the same companies end up doing the contract and then there is a private negotiation between them over who gets to do what parts of the contract. On Great Barrier we currently have Fulton Hogan.

So there we go. Lets say Downers wins the contract undercutting Fulton Hogans bid, then there is the negotiation where Fulton Hogan gets to do the work on the Barrier. So now Downers is taking a slice of the profit, and then Fulton Hogan is taking another slice of the profit and down it comes to the Barrier where they hire at the cheapest rate possible the same group of people and machinery they did before. That’s stupid from an Island perspective, but perfectly sensible from the Council one.

RBI

The same thing happened with the Rural Broadband Initiative. Chorus and Vodafone got the contract, they divided the contract between them and Vodafone got Great Barrier Island. The Island was then approached with Vodafone’s solution to increasing broadband on the Barrier and were told that if we didn’t take it then there would be no investment at all. Added to this, a lot of people wanted to be able to use cell phones on the island so they voted for the tower or nothing solution on the basis that if it didn’t improve broadband at least tourists would be able to answer their phones.

The problem is that Vodafone’s solution isn’t a good solution on the Island. It should never have been chosen, especially as a way to enable people to use their cell phones (Yes, I know technically cell phones use the Internet but it is a limited usage). For the same amount of money almost the entire Island could have had fibre optic and an energy efficient exchange instead of a cell tower that uses a huge amount of solar panels and then runs generators at night. The fibre network would have enabled the island fit for purpose broadband for maybe twenty years into the future whereas the cell tower has power constraints meaning that when we go to 5g or 6g (or whatever future may hold) the tower will either require increases in power supply (more generators at night) or decreases in transmission area (less people with broadband).

ADSL

Finally, the added traffic from the tower is going through the existing (old) network, degrading the broadband for those on the wired network to a sometimes unusable state. It would be interesting if someone could find out whether we have actually had a net increase in the amount of broadband at all, or if we have just divided the existing pie amongst another two hundred(?) connections.

 

Internet on Great Barrier Island

Slow Internet on Great Barrier island

On the 03/06/15 I sent an email to Amy Adams office bemoaning the state of Internet on Great Barrier Island.

Slow Internet on GBI Email

Dear Minister, your government lent over a million dollars to Vodafone
to build a call tower to provide better internet on Great Barrier
Island. The Prime Minister himself came to officially open the tower.

It has not worked. Since the opening of the tower things have gradually
grown worse on the wired network here until this month where I am
having to deal with pings of over a second and a bandwidth graph that
looks like…well like this wwwwwwwwww.

All I want to do is edit the
http://greatbarrierislandcommunityhealthtrust.org.nz/ webpage with the
2014 Chairmans Report but I am unable to because wordpress keeps losing
the connection. I am getting nostalgic for the faster days of dial up!

I am sure you will say I should ring Vodafone, but really they don’t
care. They get the money every month and the land network is owned by
Chorus. I could ring Chorus but they don’t care because they get mioney
from Vodafone, so I am calling you.

Please fix the mess that has been made of the Great Barrier Island
telephone system. It shoud have been run in fibre but since Vodafone
got the contract we get dial up for the same amount of money.

Well, that’s my vent. I am unsure whether this will reach you as the
mail server throws password errors a lot due to the bad connection, but
if it does, appreciate your broadband speed.

Tane Harre

And received this reply from Rebecca Kearns.

Rebecca Kearns

Dear Mr Harre

On behalf of Hon Amy Adams, Minister for Communications, thank you
for your email regarding issues with the Rural Broadband Initiative
tower on Great Barrier Island.

The Minister would like to look in to your individual situation and
in order to do so will require your address, if you could please
provide this information it would be much appreciated.

Once your address has been received I will place your correspondence
with the Minister for her consideration and response.

Kind regards
Rebecca

Rebecca Kearns l Private Secretary – Communications l Office of the
Hon Amy Adams | Minister for Communications |
Rebecca.Kearns@parliament.govt.nz | Parliament Buildings, Wellington
l www.beehive.govt.nz

Shortly after providing my address I received this reply from Steven Joyce on behalf of Amy Adams.

Steven Joyce

Office of Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Economic Development Minister Responsible for Novopay Minister for Regulatory Reform Associate Minister of Finance Minister of Science and Innovation Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
CITAA1415-410
2 7 AUG 2015
Mr Tane Harre By email: tane(e-maelwryth.com
Dear Mr Harre
Thank you for your email dated 3 June 2015 to Hon Amy Adams, Minister for Communications regarding Internet on Great Barrier Island and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI). I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Minister.

I can appreciate the frustration slow and intermittent intenet would cause. The Government is committed to lifting New Zealand’s broadband performance, and the first phase of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and RBI programmes is well on its way to delivering faster speeds to 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders by 2020.

I have asked officials to look into the current broadband availability at your address of 139 Mason Road, Great Barrier Island, as well as any future plans for the area. My officials have informed me that the tower providing RBI fixed wireless broadband services will not have affected speeds experienced over fixed wired broadband connections.

Chorus has advised officials that your speeds will be affected by the distance of your location from the cabinet as it is beyond that of the recommended reach. Chorus has further advised that your Internet connection may have slowed due to further connections being added to the cabinet, since you were first connected. Other factors that that affect actual speeds experienced include equipment and software used, a building’s internal wiring, retail service provider plan, as well as how many users are accessing services at the same time. Chorus has confirmed it has no current plans to upgrade this cabinet or extend its reach.

Unfortunately, Vodafone has informed my officials that your location will not be able to receive sufficient signal strength for RBI wireless coverage via its RBI tower. However, TeamTalk is the current third infrastructure provider servicing some of Great Barrier Island. TeamTalk, have advised officials that that even though your location appears to be surrounded by bush, they may be able to offer you a wireless broadband service from its tower. If you wish to enquire further about this possibility you can contact TeamTalk on (04) 978 7321.

Private Bag 18041, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, New Zealand. Telephone 64 4 817 6813 Facsimile 64 4 817 6513

Slow Internet - Opening of the Vodafone Tower on GBI
Opening of the Vodafone Tower on GBI