TransACT and ActeWAGL joined forces four years ago to form Grapevine, an ISP that originally serviced Canberra customers. Since then, it has expanded to encompass the whole of Australia.
With more than 20,000 customers, Grapevine considers itself a family-friendly organisation. ActewAGL and TransACT head of retail, Ivan Slavich, talks to ARN about the NBN, and whether ISPs should be legally accountable for users’ actions.
What is your company’s background? Grapevine was launched in 2005 by two Canberra-based organisations: ActewAGL and TransACT. Originally providing Canberra customers with broadband and dial-up services, Grapevine's product range has expanded to include Web hosting, along with a range of broadband plans for residential and business customers Australia-wide. Grapevine's history dates back to 2003 when it was formerly known as NetConnect and owned by ActewAGL. Following a management agreement between ActewAGL and TransACT, the two organisations joined forces to launch Grapevine as a joint venture ISP in 2005.
What is your prediction for the ISP market in the next 12 months – do you forecast any big changes? ISPs are constantly evolving. Currently, ISPs act as a gateway to the Internet, but soon ISPs will be competing in the same space as traditional media such as television, via Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).
What is your stance on ISP content filtering? Grapevine is a member of the Internet Industry Association and follows guidelines that are set by the industry. We:
- support the safe use of the Internet and the rights of children and parents
- support the restriction of content classified as illegal
- provide anti-spam and antivirus services and a wide range of content filters are available including a free filter from the Australian Government Net Alert initiative.
What impact do you foresee the NBN having on your company? Like all other telecommunications providers with network assets, Grapevine, through TransACT, is currently investigating all possible options regarding its involvement in the Commonwealth’s National Broadband Network (NBN). Grapevine has welcomed the NBN and continues to provide high quality services to its customers.
Do you believe ISPs should be held legally accountable for what their customers share over the Internet? No, as much as a car manufacturer does not control what the driver does with a car once it is purchased, we can not control how the information on the Internet is used.