Downloading dip not marked in wake of law change, telcos say

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 08/09/2011

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The "Skynet" law appears to be encouraging some internet users to stop accessing entertainment through peer-to-peer file-sharing services, but the fall-off in patronage has not been as marked as that which followed some crackdowns overseas.

Orcon chief executive Scott Bartlett said the internet provider had experienced about a 10 per cent drop in customers downloading files over peer-to-peer file- sharing networks since the anti-piracy law took effect last Thursday, suggesting some customers were modifying their behaviour for fear of being fined.

TelstraClear spokesman Gary Bowering said it saw international traffic decline about the time the controversial regime came into force but it couldn't say for certain if the two events were related. "In broad terms, the recent change is noticeable but not major."

Telecom spokeswoman Anna Skerten said it had seen no discernable impact. While there had been "a few dips", these were within the bounds of normal fluctuations in traffic, she said.

In 2009, the BBC reported that Sweden experienced a one-third drop in total internet traffic after it forced internet providers to reveal the identities of illegal file-shares to rights holders for the first time.

Telecom, TelstraClear and Orcon have not received any requests from rights holders that they send infringement notices to customers under New Zealand's "three-strikes" regime, but Bartlett believed the first would come through in about a week.

Southern Cross Cable marketing director Ross Pfeffer said it had no way of monitoring the overall volume of internet traffic to and from the country.

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- BusinessDay

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