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Telstra NextG – Your privatised monopoly at work

Someone in my family signed up with Telstra NextG wireless broadband today. This is a High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) wireless network.

Now this person is not an IT person. They use the internet for email, chat, web, etc., and due to the fact that they are working and traveling where there are no other decent wireless broadband carriers in Australia (i.e. outside a Capital City), then this was their only real option.

The salesperson sold them onto the “Mobile Plan” as it sounded like this was what you needed if you couldn’t get ADSL, and wanted wireless access. This was then signed up to for a twelve month contract.

Now this is standard stuff. If you want the best coverage on cutting edge wireless, your only real option is Telstra, but you pay with high monthly prices, really low monthly data limits, shocking excess fees ($300 per GB!) and your data uploads count towards your limit. If you want anything decent you have to basically go for a high end monthly plan.

The thing that got my goat is that the salesperson didn’t explain to them that there is ALSO a Wireless Modem plan. This still gives you the same coverage, can still be used on your laptop (via ethernet cable to the modem) as long as you can plug it into a powerpoint. The equipment is $50 cheaper to buy than the Laptop variant, and a 1GB plan (a MINIMUM for light net usage on broadband in my opinion) for the “modem” wireless option is $49.95 versus $79.95 on the “mobile” wireless option. By the way, this is ONLY @{.tweet-username} 256kbps. If you really want to utilise the High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) wireless network you would probably want their “Super G Fast” plan which provides 550 kbps to 1.5 mbps (though “These speeds are a theoretical maximum. Actual speeds will be slower.” they say). For 1GB of download a month this will set you back $109.95 on the mobile plan instead of $79.95 on the modem, yet still wireless plan.

Telstra took the opportunity to NOT mention that the Modem/Wireless plan would constitue a yearly saving of $410 ($360 in fees + $50 for the modem) over the Mobile/Wireless plan for the SAME SERVICE. And this was to a customer who was not technical (i.e. not a geek), but an everyday person who just wants decent internet access at a reasonable rate. They don’t expect to be taken for a ride by the largest monopolistic and worst tech company in Australia that has been sold off by the government and privatised.

For Telstra it is now all about the money, the numbers, the turnover, good sales figures, and they have no reason to provide any new expansion, innovation or savings to the average joe when it comes to the future of broadband. “You say goodbye and I say goodbye”

Note: I am a customer with Telstra as they offer the only cable service in my area. I choose vodafone for my mobile data services however.