From Tyrant, via the AustralianUO mailing list:

Your outpouring of ideas and contacts have been extremely helpful. You have sent us so many in fact that it will take us several more days to sort through and follow up on them. So don’t despair if we have not called/contacted everyone before early next week. Just for your information, we are only looking for folks that currently provide hosting services to multiple other companies, as our requirements are such that a vendor have significant experience at hosting. And that they have existing 24×7 full on site service capability. Anything less puts our service delivery capability at an risk level we do not consider acceptable.

Normally we only look at the largest 3-5 backbone providers within the country for a hosting / bandwidth partner. Even though I used the term ISP, we are not particular at all about whether the company provides end-user services, more with how their hosting facilities are outfitted, their local service capabilities, their network topology and their peering arrangements with other providers. And of course a pricing model more in line with our business model and costs in other parts of the world.

As several people on the list have noted, the underlying problem in Australia is the primary in-country provider is selling bandwidth on a per byte basis. This skews the vast majority of other providers in that direction, since almost all buy from that provider. The number of bytes pushed by a UO server (which we expect to be near full) is quite substantial and even given the smallest price we have heard to date, it really is 3x+ more expensive than the maximum we pay for bandwidth per shard in any of our other 6 regions. This is compounded by the fact that we don’t prevent people from other regions from playing on a UO server, except for a short time after launch, and overseas bandwidth is particularly unattractive to Australian providers (with good reason).

Everywhere else we are now (or are expanding to shortly) sells bandwidth on a peak usage basis per month. For example, if a shard peaks at 5 megabits per second, then we contract for and pay monthly for the 5 megabits in other markets. If we go over that some month, the bandwidth is available and they charge us a premium fee for going over (this does not happen in practice btw, we contract for the worst case in our other regions). Our business model for UO is based on this type of predictable charge.

We are continuing to look at NZ and Singapore as options, but your efforts have given us additional Australian avenues to explore.

Thanks again for the help, and I hope this communication brings more clarity to the situation for you.

P.S. Those of you who are upset with us are fully justified, as I probably should not have let the cat out of the bag until we had a hosting partner locked. We remain committed to getting a shard in place with better connectivity for the Australian and New Zealand customers ASAP.

And an Australian writes:

The remains of the current Australian UO’ers usually discussed their… things on a messageboard which Miasma ran, but he Massacred it, so hence, we do not have a messageboard. So I took the liberty to modify my board to the new Australian UO Messageboard, Heres the URL . If you could be as so kind as to make it clear to your leigons of… ummm… readers and post this on your board somewhere, that would be very much apprecieated. Thank you.

OK, …readers, there you go.