Exetel Chief Says Gamers Have No Life

Exetel Chief Says Gamers Have No Life

Most of us would like to think our ISPs are run by people who ‘get’ the online world. Yesterday during a discussion on the future of the NBN and 100Mbps fibre in Australia, Exetel Chief John Linton decided to make a direct comment that people who want higher speed broadband, like gamers, have no lives are not part of the half of Australians who have a life.

It came up as the panel of industry figures (including notable voices like Greens Senator Scott Ludlam) discussed what value there could possibly be from a push upward to 100Mbps fibre as part of the government’s National Broadband Network plans. Linton argued there was no benefit to a step away from what ADSL2+ can deliver.

Just in case you think I’ve stretched his words, he specifically called out gamers as part of the “almost no one” who wants 100Mbps. And then directly followed the word ‘gamers’ with his statement “who have no lives”.

  UPDATE: OK, folks, here’s the verbatim quote. my quotes are imperfect above, as John Linton himself has pointed out below. Here’s the actual words:

The number of people who want 100 megabits are [pause]almost none today and aren’t going to be very many in five years time… Probably 40-50% of people today will never want to use a piece of fibre at its huge expense compared to using a free wireless signal…

There’s probably well in excess of three million people using wireless, mainly for different applications at the moment.

And they’re certainly not gamers playing, or those other things. They’re the other half of Australia that has a life [pause]rather than a half life.

I missed the pithy throwaway at the end of his comment, which shows he knows the name of a popular game to add a little more zing to his jibe. So I’m sorry, Linton did not use the quote “gamers have no life”, he said that gamers are not part of the half of Australians who have a life…  

Exetel is a popular ISP amongst savvy users who want no frills broadband. And that means more than a handful of gamers. I’ll say it, myself included. And now those customers get a peek at the attitude of this ISP in what they think of people who game online.

Linton also told Senator Ludlam the Greens can rot in hell if they support a split of Telstra.

He also said that he’d promised his wife he wouldn’t call anyone a c*nt Kevin Rudd “Krudd” (I misheard this throw away – Sorry John) while on the panel. And he didn’t. At least, not using that specific word.

So, you know, he at least had SOME level of self control.


  • It may not be such a bad idea at this point to hire a PR manager, or at least someone to stand next to him telling him to STFU at 30 second intervals.

  • just goes to show people in power like this have no idea what going on in the real world, my boss included!

  • *meh* so he called a spade, a spade, i dont see the problem, we know we have no lives… now make with the 100Mbps

    • This probably won’t help with the anti-gaming attitude so many people have =\
      But I agree with the overall message!!

  • Nobody wants it is one of the things I hate about the arguments against speeding up the net (or advancing any technology for that matter)

    The people who want it *now* are in fact a small element. But the thing is that once the average person gets it they find ways of using it that they never new existed. In fact often not even the people who wanted it initially envisioned they way it would be used.

    Youtube is a prime example, nearly nobody cared about streaming video over the net before Youtube popped up, but once the capacity was there it took off almost instantly and now nearly everyone uses it to some extent.

    Oh, and the guy insulted gamers. Yeah, what else is new. *patiently waits for next media scapegoat to come along so everyone can go back to ignoring us*

    • Speaking of necessary scapegoats, it can’t be long till the next video of whomever plays the role of Bin Laden gets released.. Which widely-criticized U.S. policies will he attack to make us side with the establishment? Only time will tell.

  • Wow, is this guy ignorant or what? It’s a very generalized comment to make. It’s like saying all Australians are racist.

    If anything, Gamers always have more lives.
    Now speed up our net D: Ours is the slowest of all the developed countries. And the most expensive.

  • Exetel is geared towards people who do their homework with their ISP choice, offering huge download limits at great value, making it a great choice for gamers who are adamant about quotas and control.

    He’s just made a HUGE mistake.

    • I’m not sure this is true. Most gamers/tech savvy people I know are informed enough to stay THE FUCK AWAY from exetel in the first place. I mean sure its annoying to hear a comment like this at the executive level, but they’ve already done far more damage at the level of customer service and product quality.

      For the record I wasn’t informed enough and was with them for a while. I’m now with TPG and I had nfi that ADSL2 could be this fast.

  • And what was the reaction to his statements from panalists and audience members / journos? Did anyone ask any follow up questions?

    • He was being so ranty that most questions just started avoiding him to try and get some interesting comments out of the more informative and insightful panelists.

  • I’m a gamer and I wouldn’t mind faster Internet.

    Not for online games, never play them.

    I’m thinking of movie streaming, like Zune Movies on my 360.

  • I’m a gamer, but I work full-time, have a social life (not related to gaming, bars, baseball etc) and I resent his jerkwad comment.

    I have a life, a life that included me having left Exetel for their crap service.

  • The guys clearly an idiot with no idea on what is going on.

    Hell he runs Exetel, which is a joke of an ISP.

    He can stick to his slow and backwards speeds, and the rest of Australia can move forwards to catch up with the rest of the world.

    We’re already so far behind due to idiots like this.

    • Not like the NBN is helping its basically stalled any private development of the internet in australia since why bother updating when the govt is gonna do it eventually anyways


    Dont get upset people! Hes a ‘Douche Bag of History’! You know, one of those people made to look like an absolute tosser not five to ten years after big statement which theyll be remembered for always?

    Also, maybe if we all concentrate really hard we can make his head splode using the dark powers you just KNOW Atkinson thinks we got.

    Wo0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o!!!! <<Ghost noise. Btw seriously.. why do gamers freak these sorts of people out?

    • my favorite is “you’ll never need anything bigger than a floppy disk for all your data storage!”

  • Wow, i really hope all of you guys currently using Exetel are seriously considering switching ISPs. This kind of bigottory is exactly what we DONT need.

    I currently use Internode, which is fantastic for gamers. Steam downloads don’t count towards my limit, they have great dedicated servers for many online games, and the games specific website (games.on.net) is great for getting patches/trailers for no quota

    • bah im with exetel for 3 reasons
      A) there cheap
      B) im restricted to ADSL where i live
      C) high download limit(steam downloads unmetered is irrelvant when i do 10 Gb a month tops on it

      i mean internode is $50 for 50GB
      exetel is $55 for 36+85

      and cos im on crappy speeds anyway theres no slow down for me

  • Please don’t put words in my mouth – particularly a word I have never used.

    Your invention of what I didn’t say probably describes your general journalistic standards of accurate reporting.

    I promised my wife I would not use the word “Krudd” which I almost invariably use to describe the current prime minister – perhaps you can use a word search on my blogs for the past 900+ posts to confirm that?

    Similarly you mis-report my comment about the percentage and type of people who might need 100 mbps connectivity and their likely usage.

    • Sorry John, I wasn’t the only one who must have misheard your promise to your wife. The room audio was a bit messy. But your statement that “almost no one” wants 100Mbps was loud and clear, as was your opinion on the kind of lives gamers lead.

      • Neither you, no anyone else heard the word you ascribe to me.

        My statement was that “I promised my wife I wouldn’t use the word I usually refer to him with. Neither you nor anyone else can have found some way of hearing the word you ascribe to me in that sentence.

        A proper apology would be in order as your current reporting is, without question, defamatory.

        As for your other mis-reporting my recollection of my actual words were – “nobody needs a 100 mbps connection who has a life or even a half life” – a poor but harmless reference to players of an old game ie. even the people who play games who seem to be the most strident supporters of something they don’t know the cost of couldn’t use 100 mbps.

        Perhaps you should obtain an audio record of the session and check your statements before publishing them?

        • I honestly apologise for ascribing ‘the word’ above to you. I participated in a bad ‘Chinese whisper’ recollection of that line and made this error. My very bad.

          The verbatim quotes of substance, including a few surrounding lines to add some context, are now above for readers to interpret as they will.

        • You cry defamation while implying that the lives of gamers are less than those of others? Does the word “hypocrite” mean anything to you?

    • Similarly, your comments on the way I spend my free-time prove to me that you are just a money-grubbing, soulless, typical CEO and your company will never be receiving a cent of my hard-earned cash. I’ll be sure all of my friends and family see this too…

      Oh wait, that’s right, I have no life, and therefore no friends. Snap!

  • I’m actually a bit of a Linton fanboi…He may act like an ass-hat at times but you can’t deny his passion and he’s a hands-on kind of CEO. I’ve derived big guffaws reading his responses to whiney customers.
    As the article states exetel is a great service if you’re not one to need lots of customer service hand holding… The one time I was dissatisfied with a service decision I wrote JL an email and the problem was resolved in an afternoon…

    just wish they didn’t do away with the free 100voip calss per month as of…today 🙁

  • Exetel is really one of the worst ISPs I’ve had to deal with (they make TPG look good), so glad I’m not with them personally.

    It sounds like this guy is coming up with excuses to not spend money. Their laughable attempt at broadband in Wagga is already terribly inconsistent and unreliable, heaven forbid they take steps to make it less shit

  • Obviously as a gamer I find this offensive, it’s also a glaring fallacy.

    I work full time, am a trapeze and aerial tissu artist, maintain a healthy relationship with my partner and still find time to go out for drinks with mates. If that’s not a life I’m damned if I know what is.

  • I am surprised as to how people with no idea of things reach the management cadres. Maybe that’s why they do, they are supported by similar creatures.
    To need a decent higher sped one does not have to be a gamer. I develop, even up/down loading an app/doco etc requires high speed and reliable bandwidth.

    I am not trying to bag this guy, but just wondering if the Industry would keep supporting/recruiting individuals with no idea about IT and lots of passion in what they believe even if that is wrong. It doesn’t matter to them as to where the organisation heads or ends up.

    Why does the name “Sol” sound so familiar??

  • Glad I’m with Internode- not only do they respect their customers, they actually support gamers with servers, news etc (I love the GamesOnNet iphone app, always gives me something to read).

  • rofl… good old John (i have met him and nearly worked for him once)… certainly not going to do himself any favors with his customers saying this sort of thing…

    ah well

  • Exetel is a good service and John does know what is going on in the industry (read his blog).
    Is he douche for saying that gamers have no life … Yep … It is dramatic generilazation.
    CEO’s should have no life … oh yeah thats right they do because they spend all there profits on holidays, toys and drugs!
    Me I need a form of cheap entertainment so games it is. I would hope to hear a apology!

  • hell i dont care if we dont get 100 Mbps im happy with what ive got for the time being just dont censor my internet

  • That’s rather ambiguous, Seamus.

    “Gamers, who have no lives, want high speed broadband” is a significantly different comment from “Gamers who have no lives want high speed broadband”. One is a grossly unfair generalisation, the other entirely accurate.

    Care to clarify?

    • @Rod: are you saying it’s fair to say that only gamers who have no lives want 100Mbps download? That the ones who have lives don’t want it?

      • “Only”? Not at all. But I think you’d be hard pressed to find an obsessive gamer who didn’t drool at the thought of playing online on a 100mbps connection.

  • It’s not very nice to insult your customers. People start reconsidering their contracts when you do that, plenty of other very good ISPs out there. I know I’m thinking twice about it. People who generalise shit me. Not all of us sit around playing WoW and the like all day. A lot of us have school, jobs, uni, go out with friends or family. It’s an ignorant comment to make, much like atkinson and his ramblings.

  • I’m a gamer & an Exetel customer.

    I’ve been with Exetel for a number of years but this comment will certainly make me rethink my choice of ISP.

  • LOL… seriously way to screw over and annoy your own customer demographic =P

    Although I seriously doubt this will in any way affect significant “jump boat” actions though.. at the end of the day its still about the quality of the speed (oh yeah and how decent that obsolete term ‘cap’ is) from the plans.

    On a side note.. funny how trolling.. ermm i mean opnions like those usually come w/ the much necessary “I have a life” retorts xD

  • John Linton is just the NEW John Russell that used to own/run veridas
    All mouth and NO brains. people WANT bb.
    Of the 3 million on wireless that he mentioned(which isnt free either), 2 1/2 million are in BB blackspot area’s, and have only dialup as the “other” option.

  • This is also the guy who reckons Wireless is the way of the future.
    Now seeing these comments, my choice of churning away from Exetel is more justified.

  • Dear Mr. Linton,

    After reading your above comments, it had been confirmed what I already suspected – that your company has no vision for the future or wish to contribute to expand it.

    I find the comments you have made regarding gamers to be offensive and unnecessary. As someone who has been using your company’s service for years to play games and learn to create them, through both my University classes and personal learning, I feel quite surprised and offended that you would disapprove of this usage.
    Also, it seems inconsistent considering that Exetel used to provide a mirror of the Gamershell website.

    I believe the minor misquote by Kotaku is not defamatory or anywhere near as bad as you make it sound.

    Your desire not to provide 100Mbps speeds clearly shows a lack of vision and drive for the company, and your completely incorrect assumption that nobody could use such a connection is unfounded.

    I also strongly disagree with your statements about the Greens and Telstra and feel they are again extreme and unfounded.

    Of course Exetel doesn’t think I need 100MBps, as your company seems to believe in my experience, that selling an 8Mbps plan that runs near dialup speeds at night and deliberately slows torrents is acceptable. While I appreciate the free increase to my off peak download cap, I did not appreciate:

    – The moving of the off peak times from a time I could use it to a time I could not
    – The forced change from a shaped service to a shaped AND excess usage charged service
    – The increase in download cap occurring when the ISP knew it did not have enough bandwidth, and users were experiencing ridiculous slowdowns daily.

    Also of note: Your logic above is incorrect. You accuse the reporter of incorrectly reporting your belief that almost nobody needs a 100Mbps connection, yet go on to admit you did indeed say that.

    I am now considering which other options are available, and I can assure you I will be discontinuing my service as *soon* as DSL2+ becomes available in my area, even if you provide the largest download limits at that time.

  • Hi Seamus Byrne, you totally missed the point about JL’s opinion about the NBN2.

    Reality check 100Mbps fan boys. Lets say there are ~8.5 million households. There is apparently a $43B cost. That’s $5050 cost for every single household. Gas prices are going up in WA by less than $50 a year and the community is having a big stink about it. What’s a $5050 cost going to do?

    I will be my life the majority of households would flat out refuse to pay that cost if given the choice. Lets say even half of the houses want it.. so that’s a $10,000 charge to install. You want to pay that? I don’t.

    I would also bet my life that wireless broadband will surpass 100Mbps and fix any latency issues gamers could complain about. Only 10 years ago wireless was virtually zero. Now you get 1-3Mbps Give it another 10 years (the same time it will take to roll this 43B piece of junk) and wireless will be great. At no cost to the tax payer.

    If an NBN was a financial winner Telstra, or any huge ass global company with an economical brain, would have done it. They haven’t so it’s not.

    Everyone can get 100Mbps NOW if they want to pay an installer to bring it to their house. Why don’t they? Well because it’s ridiculously expensive. expensive.

  • The problem with this ‘nobody really wants fibre’ attitude is that it ignores the rapidly growing number of high-bandwidth services being created overseas that Australia will not be able to compete with.

    Things like IPTV and other on-demand entertainment services are not only fast becoming a reality, but are also inevitable – and if we are not able to create our own service providers here, yet more Australian dollars will flow to overseas companies. (especially since its already damn-near impossible to watch an entire series of anything on Australian commercial television)

    Head? Meet sand. Sand? Head.

    Besides, the NBN is about the only mega-budget project the government has planned that will actually make its money back 😛

  • If you receive Linton’s blog via RSS as I do (for plain old comic value no less), you will see that he frequently changes minor, and occasionally major details of his posts without making it obvious to the reader that he has done so.

    Other than a lack of ethics and competency, why would the CEO of a major industry player not sit on his thoughts for a couple of days, work out exactly what message he is trying to deliver, refine his message and post in an authorative manner?

    For this reason, I find his questioning of the journalistic standard of the author hypocritical, and his claims of defamation laughable, given some of the statements he makes publically, and then recants (on the sly) without so much as a second thought.

  • This reminds me of when Bill Gates publically announced that “640K ought to be enough for anybody”.

    Just because this guy is CEO of an ISP, doesn’t mean his opinion has any value (which he has kindly demonstrated).

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