September 6th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Sky Television chief executive John Fellet says he hopes Sky can persuade at least three or four internet providers not to charge customers to download programmes and movies from its soon-to-be-launched internet television service, iSky.

If Sky makes the material available on servers which are open for peering, then that should allow NZ ISPs to exempt them from data caps.

Mr Fellet revealed a few more details of the service, which he said would launch in mid-November and would be free to Sky customers who had signed up to the equivalent pay-TV channels.

Sky will stream three sports channels and a selection of news channels. Subscribers will also be able to download 200 movies to watch at any time from a catalogue that will change each month, and catch up on movies and many programmes they may have missed on Prime and other “basic” Sky channels.

Great, I look forward to this.

One industry source said iSky put internet providers in a quandary. Sky was being “hard-nosed” and there was little in it collectively for internet providers to offer iSky unmetered, though some ISPs might steal a march on rivals by doing so, given Sky’s hold over key broadcast content.

Vodafone and Orcon are among those believed to be considering letting customers access iSky without that contributing to their monthly broadband data caps. Orcon spokesman Duncan Blair confirmed it was in discussions.

Vodafone doing so, would help keep me as a customer. Their e-mail quality has been crap lately, so we need some sweeteners!

Sky has this time spent about $4m so it can host the content on its own computers in New Zealand. That means internet providers will not need to pay for capacity on the Southern Cross cable to serve up programmes to customers, making the option of unmetered downloads more viable.

Mr Fellet said that, initially, Sky would only directly profit from iSky by also serving up pay-per-view movies for viewing on computers. It would not sell its “adult” pay-per-view programmes online, at least at first, he said. That business was “slowly dying anyway” as a result of the preponderance of free pornography on the internet.

No wonder the Ministerial credit card expenses have been dropping 🙂

11 Responses to “iSky”

  1. krazykiwi (8,228 comments) says:

    If Voda offers unmetered it will only be while it captures public imagination. Once usage starts to climb there will probably be insufficient bandwidth, and price controls will be needed. One option may be provision load-dependent tariffs so unused capacity is sold cheaply at night, while in-demand day-time capacity is sold at a premium.

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  2. MikeMan (175 comments) says:

    There should not be a major bandwidth issue as long as Sky provisions sufficient capacity to APE and WIX.

    None of the bandwidth needs to leave the country so there should be plenty to go around.

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  3. expat (4,087 comments) says:

    VodaJoke – tried to sign up with their phone internet and sky package, what a complete dogs arse, we think we might be able to do something for you at some stage in about 3 weeks. Telecom gave dates on the phone for delivery in 3 days.

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  4. dime (12,984 comments) says:

    so potentially i could sign in while at work and have the cricket on in the background. nice.

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  5. moaningmoa (69 comments) says:

    Given telecom has tivo, I think the chances of this not counting towards cap on their plans (and those of their resellers) is about as likely as world peace.

    There is not justification now for caps to apply to national bandwidth, so why would we ever expect them to exclude bandwidth to a competitors product?

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  6. Simon Lyall (110 comments) says:

    This is why people worry about Net Neutrality. If Sky gets a deal then what about other New Zealand content providers? Will they have to go round the ISPs and negotiate their own deals (possible with Sky having an exclusive). If they are only small provider then ISPs won’t even bother talking to them over potentially small amounts of money (at least for the ISP) that is involved.

    Considering that ISPs have campaigned for years for telecom to peer or at least have an open and priced interconnect policy it is disappointing that they are now going down the opposite route.

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  7. RightNow (7,328 comments) says:

    FYI: zero-rated traffic already exists in NZ:
    “Current sites with zero rated traffic from Orcon are,,,, and the George FM live stream, the Orcon mail servers and Orcon’s own website”

    The big stumbling block will be that most ISP’s resell Telecom’s ADSL which counts all traffic toward your cap.

    If you want to get off that model (paying for NZ traffic) you should consider “naked DSL” aka UBA/EUBA (enhanced unbundled bitstream access) if you can find an ISP that has the necessary infrastructure. You can do away with your phone line and run real VoIP over it and get free national traffic (depending on your ISP).

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  8. moaningmoa (69 comments) says:

    But still, that is cherry picking a number of services… nothing but the same was Telecom does with it’s own TIVO service.

    I will have to look more into the naked dsl offerings, but last time I looked it was ridiculously expensive.

    For now I stick with the same provider I’ve had for years, primarily due to the fantastic service they have given when I have had to call them over the years.

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  9. bhudson (4,770 comments) says:

    Now why should an ISP or telco provide Sky with a free distribution network for a service they are charging for? Where is the commercial sense in that?

    A bit like demanding that Ford giving you a car for free so that BP can charge you for the petrol you use.

    Still, on the bright side… I’m sure Sky will now strip any and all charges for content delivery mechanisms (servers, operating costs, set top boxes, satellite charges, etc) from their subscription. After all, they clearly believe that only the content should be charged for; not the delivery infrastructure and transmission channels.

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  10. MikeMan (175 comments) says:

    If Sky takes this huge opportunity and just moves their existing content packages to IPTV then I will be majorly pissed off. I could sort of see the point if they were allocating transponder bandwidth but with an on-demand IPTV delivery system there is no good technical reason to force “PACKAGES” on us.

    If I want to watch a Grand Prix I should be able to subscribe to that content chunk and pay only for that, I would want the sports channels for maybe 4-6 hours a month, this is the main reason I do not currently have them.

    The same could be said of movies, rather than PPV for 200 movies a month why not the whole active catalog for the month? Charge a slightly higher fee for more recent movies and a nominal fee for the older content that is also on the open broadcast.

    I am 99% sure that total revenues would go up with this model as people pay for the content that they want rather than not subscribing to movies or sport because of a perceived lack of value.

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  11. Seán (374 comments) says:

    Hahaha, data caps! In Spain they don’t exist, probably not in most of Europe either. Looks like the old boys network of NZ telcos is still alive and strong!!

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