It shows how few people are left who take any notice of the Internet Home User Group that the news that the IHUG brand name was to cease to exist on 1st August excited little, if any, comment.
My internet first became part of IHUG in 1997 when IHUG bought out the Efficient Software Internet Service, shortly after our tribe had signed up to them. (Those reading this who remember my old email addresses will remember that they ended with @es.co.nz). After a few teething problems (including a period of a few months in late 1997 / early 1998 when the number of subscribers in Invercargill far exceeded the number of modems available at the local exchange - which is when I started getting in the habit of reading my email at the crack of dawn) the company settled down and supplied a fairly decent Internet service.
However, things started heading downhill when the company's original founders - Tim ("Katndahat") and Nick Wood - sold the business; it became, in fairly rapid succession, tig.com.au, was bought out by iinet.com.au, and eventually became owned by vodafone.co.nz. Although the rot had already begun to set in by the time Vodafone acquired the company - for example, connection speeds, which had previously been fairly reliably averaging 50kbps, dropped catastrophically during 2005 and have averaged less than half that (32kbps on a good day, 4.8 kbps on a bad day) since then - their incompetence at managing an Internet business (their so-called "helpdesk" being perhaps the most worthless example of the species ever - hour plus waits for an answer and when you do get an answer there's a good chance it's someone who can't even speak English) proved the brand's downfall. Whereas IHUG had historically been the best performing "big" internet provider in consumer surveys, in the most recent one (published earlier this year), they were at second bottom in the country, with only the almost universally loathed Telecom's Xtra brand coming below them.
Things have got to the stage where there's nothing keeping me at Vodafone any longer - not even the IHUG name remains to provide any continuity. I'm already hosting my web site elsewhere - bringing up http://crash.ihug.co.nz/~jollian/ (for however long crash.ihug.co.nz still exists) should (if I've uploaded the right file) bring up a link to its new location. Most of my email ends up being sent to addresses my brother owns and forwarded to wherever I'm getting my email from at the time. The only hurdle to get over now is pricing: IHUG's $28 or thereabouts a month might not have been cheap, but the best deal I've been able to find for a vaguely decent Internet service anywhere else has been about $80 a month (from Snap). Whether or not I'm prepared to pay $80 a month for internet will determine whether I stay on line or not, fairly much.