It’s a one man band. Literally.

Tom Atkinson set this entire ISP up. Made the logo just last night 😉


Creator of the AminoSeeNoEvil DNA visualisation, Tom Atkinson is a coder, international recording artist, drummer and composer based in Auckland. Learn about me at

It started one day when I wrote this email to the government:




sorry for the group email – bit of a brainstorm.
a few years ago ~2017 I investigated the startup of a super low cost low-bandwidth ISP using throttled fibre and VDSL. For beneficiaries, students, low-income etc. Something low cost to get people up and running in the hopes they’ll upgrade to the $48/month media later.

But at $41 wholesale per fibre connection I realised it would not be possible and gave up on it.

I’d still need about 100 to 200 users and to rent servers and pay a massive bandwidth bill. But now that COVID-19 mass mysteria is making people work from home I figured maybe now is a better time to ask the government / commerce commision to legislate a bill that forces / asks Chorus to consider providing 2 or 3 new low speed fibre offerings, such as:

$14/month 640kbps CIR under heavy use burstable to 10 megabit symmetrical over fibre or VDSL

YouTube would be almost unwatchable at this level.
They’d be clearly labelled as reduced speed lines that can burst with light use if you don’t slam them, but are on average quite slow for heavy use.

I’d then re-package that media into account plans with titles like $12/week and Pay What You Feel It’s Worth

until I’d built enough collateral to afford  them up to 10/10 but also employ bandwidth shaping to hedge against future non-payment etc. This way I can sit at 10/10 for as long as possible while the user is suddenly throtttled at my end if in default etc. or collect $60/month for a bit just prior to moving them up in speed. The idea would require routers in my network to do “traffic shaping” before hitting the Chorus backhaul…. in order to slow certain connections intelligently: allowing light users reasonable burst performance of say 10 megabit to check an email, but which would begin to throttle certain larger downloads ideally once they had past a certain size. Ideally it could still run even with nearly no credit.
if Chorus require, and not to upset the other ISPs margins, I’d be happy to accept harsh conditions such as:
  • to be eligible the connection must either be:
    • fibre which has been dark for say 3 months or more;
    • existing user is outside the existing ISPs 24 month contract etc
  • low band connection upgrades but not existing high band downgrades to the fibre media type
    • move to a user from say 10/10 to 100/20 or 900/400 but not back without a 3 month dark fibre period
    • existing ISP can allow their customers to request downgrade only if
  • disallow paid marketing other than a website, email etc; use only word of mouth etc
This way, it would only be good for setting up customers who’ve been NAT’ing their iphones to their flat out of desperation to get reliable terrestrial net cheaply.

The idea being not to cannabilise existing $41/month connections in the market where people are paying prices starting at about $70 to $80 per month which is a bit high for some. The speed I’m happy for Chorus to alter (make it 256kbps if you need to say for the $18/month media) but the monthly wholesale price is the key, in that any internet is better than no internet at all. Either that or bring back copper?

My idea – originally a brand like “Better Than Nothing Internet” but later “Butterfly Nets” seemed cooler – would need:
  • members of parliament behind the idea + a bill
  • potentially damages paid to Chorus for lost business but there is a lot of dark fibre out there
  • able to switch between 1/1 and 10/10 quickly
  • free from minimum terms
  • support from MSD just in terms of referrals of business initially sufficient to get 200 customers
  • a business loan (my company to source) to cover the Chorus $10,000 “bond for service”
  • more of a business plan from myself
  • customers
NOTE: I tried out 500 kbps in chrome dev tools. It’s not fast enough to watch Youtube at good quallity, but it able to load the following sites in these timeframes:

 (19 seconds)

 (29 seconds)

 (13 seconds)

For many people this is enough.
Hoping to light up some of that dark fibre that I see in my friends places that got it, then cancelled it. I also figured it would be easy to use the twisted pair copper to run ADSL/VDSL service. I found out the packet switching for VDSL is much trickier (ATM vs Ethernet), and Chorus very keen to put me off using copper. But if copper + VDSL is the better choice would be interesting to know more.

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