Kim Dotcom

Dotcom plans free broadband for NZ

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 3:40am

Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur and former Hong Kong resident facing extradition to the US for alleged piracy, plans to give all householders in his new home of New Zealand free broadband access - financed by suing Hollywood studios and the American government.

The flamboyant 38-year-old, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, made a fortune reputed to exceed £100 million (HK$1.24 billion) with his Hong Kong-based Megaupload file storage site.

US prosecutors allege Mega-upload was involved in the distribution of copyright-protected films, music and other material.

Originally based in Wan Chai, Dotcom has had New Zealand residency for two years.

In January this year, police raided his mansion in Auckland and other addresses on behalf of the FBI. Six months later, New Zealand's high court ruled that the operation was illegal.

Dotcom has been free on bail since February, but faces an extradition hearing in March.

Meanwhile, Dotcom plans to resurrect plans for a second fibre-optic web cable across the Pacific to the US, which would have doubled New Zealand's available internet bandwidth. A New Zealand company, Pacific Fibre, could not secure funding for the NZ$400 million (HK$2.5 billion) link.

Dotcom's proposal is to supply broadband free to domestic customers, charging only businesses and government users.

His share of the capital would be provided by lawsuits against the US government and film studios for their "unlawful and political destruction" of his business.

The plan would be key to New Zealand's prosperity, he said: "You have clean and cheap energy. Power is becoming the biggest cost factor for data centres around the world. With its own cable, cheap power and connectivity, New Zealand could attract foreign internet business."