Friday, October 1, 2010

GST changes, more connections and over 500 Zenbu locations online

Hi everyone,

Well it's about time for another quick update on things here at Zenbu HQ.

As most of you are probably well aware, GST in New Zealand has increased to 15% as of today, October 1st 2010. Despite the increase in GST we are not going to increase our prices.

For people providing Zenbu wireless access who are not registered for GST the increase in GST means there will be a change in the per-megabyte amount you are paid for usage. You will still be paid 50% of revenue we receive, but the amount we receive has decreased so the amount we pay will also decrease.

Up until today we have been paid 8.89 cents per megabyte by customers who purchase credit online (10 cents less GST @ 12.5% = 8.89 cents) and 50% of that has been paid to the location at which the credit is used (4.44 cents per megabyte). From today because we now only receive 8.70 cents per megabyte (10 cents less GST @ 15% = 8.70 cents) the location at which credit is used (if not GST registered) will be paid 4.35 cents per megabyte.

GST registered zone operators will continue to receive 50% of the GST inclusive payment we receive from customers (5 cents per megabyte).

Now, with that taxing topic out of the way I'm happy to point out we now have over 500 locations providing Zenbu wireless access (518 Zenbu hotspots are online as I type this). The map of New Zealand is very well covered ( with Zenbu hotspots available from Mangonui in the north to Stewart Island in the south and most places in between (including Balclutha, Waiau, Waipukurau, Temuka, Rangiora, Great Barrier Island and many other places outside the "main centres" that many businesses focus on). It's nice to see all the smaller towns around NZ gradually appearing on the map.

I should also mention we now have over 20 Zenbu locations in Rarotonga. It's a much easier destination to visit for people who need to stay in touch than it was before the Zenbu wireless system was made available (if I may say so myself). On that front, Cook Island operators can now register a Cook Island bank account to receive payments from us. Just click on the "register a bank account" link on your zone administration page and provide your account details.

Now it was only back in April that we had our millionth connection. Already, only 6 months later, we have had nearly 1.5 million. The 1.5 millionth connection should happen sometime in the next few weeks. It's great to have so many people using the system so frequently.

Well that's about it from us.


The Zenbu Team.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Improved mobile website now live

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the improved Zenbu mobile website is now live. People have always been able to access the Zenbu website, login and use the internet on their mobile devices, but as the number of people using mobile devices continues to grow we thought they should have an improved interface. So when people use their iPhone, iPod, flash Android cellphone, fancy new iPad, or trusty old Nokia to access our website they should now have a better experience - not so much scrolling and zooming required.

For those interested in a few geeky stats, keep reading. People on "mobile" devices only account for just over 3% of visitors to our website (by far the majority still use "normal" computers). The following are the most popular mobile devices used:

Device typePercentage of users
Symbian (Nokia etc)18.0%
iPad (not even officially on sale in NZ yet)7.9%
Windows Mobile1.5%
Others (PSP etc) combinedless than 1%

So there's some info on our mobile users. I expect we will continue to see usage by mobile devices increase and it'll be interesting to watch the changes in the types of devices people are using. Apple is certainly dominant in the category at this stage!

I'd also like to quickly thank all our hard working servers for working so tirelessly, reliably and without any complaints! Although they probably don't appreciate the gratitude, they really do a good job humming away in the Maxnet data centre 24/7 keeping the Zenbu service running smoothly. Thanks to them (and I guess their managers deserve some credit too!) the Zenbu website has been available 99.996% of 2010. The only downtime was the scheduled server maintenance back in January. So good job servers!

I hope all is well out there and that all our zone operators (and all the school kids) had successful school holidays.


The Zenbu Team.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A few new things and some milestones

Hi everyone,

It has been a busy start to 2010 for us and apparently also for most of our zone operators. On average there have been well over 1000 people per day using the Zenbu network, well up on the numbers from the previous summer.

During the summer we upgraded some of our servers making the Zenbu wireless service both faster and even more reliable than ever. Since the beginning of 2010 our system has been available 99.996% of the time and the minimal downtime we have had was during the scheduled outages when we were upgrading the servers!

We have also recently reached a few milestones. Notably our millionth connection happened back in early April and we have now had over 200,000 visitors to the website since we started! It is very satisfying to see the growth and to pass such milestones.

The number of locations with Zenbu WiFi access in the Cook Islands continues to grow and The Computerman up there seems to be doing a good job promoting the Zenbu wireless solution. Rarotonga is now pretty well covered and people should never be too far from a Zenbu WiFi hotspot if they need to make sure all is well on the internet while they're enjoying the warmth of the Cook Islands.

Function-wise we have recently added the ability of zone operators to add friends with a limited amount of free data they can use each month. This is a function that had been requested by a few operators over the years and makes good sense. So it is now possible to provide a user with say 1 gigabyte free access per month and have their credit automatically reset each month on a particular day (eg. the day your broadband allowance resets). Great for venues with long term guests, regular customers or even people just wanting to control their kids' internet usage!

Well although it feels like it's time to hibernate for the winter, we'll be busy improving things for all our users.


The Zenbu Team.