Something we discovered on this trip, and had never really planned for, is that the costs of telecommunication in other parts of the world far exceed costs in the U.S. and Europe. We were lucky enough to have free, albeit slow, access in Trinidad, but access only got slower and more expensive as we made our way west. We haven’t seen free internet anywhere since Panama, and that was hijacked from some unwitting homeowner with an unsecured network in Las Perlas. Disculpame, señor y señora.
Those of you who’ve been in touch with us via email or Skype have probably already heard this, but I’m adding it to the written record for the sake of formally recording it in our vacation history. All along we’d expected that making it to New Zealand would mean making it back into a first-world industrialized nation, therefore making it back into the world of high-speed free internet wifi zones.
It turns out New Zealand has the highest telecommunications costs of any first-world country in the world. The highest bandwidth home internet service available has a cap of 25gb a month and costs $145/mo. The cheapest cellphone service we have found costs $0.44 a minute to talk and $10/mo for 1000 texts. Data service on cellular networks is sky high. Calling cellphones from landlines on a calling card is $0.29/min.
In the past week and a half we have already spent $90 on internet. We use the free wifi at the library when we can, but it has a daily cap of 100mb. Needless to say, we still have not installed the 4gb of updates that have accumulated from Apple and various other software providers that we’ve been delaying since we left the U.S. We can’t find anywhere that we can even pay for that much download service at a time. Oh well.
The question that this brings me to is, how does this issue affect the cost of doing business in NZ? When will the telecoms break down and bring the country into the 21st century? In the meantime, Jason and I are madly hunting for the next best thing, and not to worry blog fans, we’ll find a way to make it work.