Telstra announced yesterday that their ADSL 2+ (what’s with the plus?) upgrade has now been completed Australia wide. What does this give the average end user access to? The Telstra PR and discussion site explains:
The ADSL2+ upgrade of 907 telephone exchanges serving 2.4 million homes and businesses announced in February is now complete. This means millions of additional Australian families, businesses, non-profit organisations and government agencies across every state and territory can now enjoy the benefits of high-speed broadband
This is a double edged sword. On one side it is a good thing that this increases high speed access to the end user; on the other side its Telstra. Even though I am a Bigpond Cable user, I would not recommend Bigpond ADSL2 unless it was last resort – for a number of reasons;
- high price for data plans (AU$59.95 entry level ADSL2 for 600MB per month!);
- uploads count towards your monthly limit; and
- if you are not on a shaped (liberty) plan their excess price is AU$150 per GB.
These cons mean that a non tech person getting ADSL2 could start of with the entry level 600MB plan, spend a few days surfing YouTube and having clocked up, lets say 1.6GB of usage, would be up for AU$209.95 for their initial monthly cost, on top of installation and hardware costs.
But in some cases this is the only ADSL2 on offer where previously there was none, dialup or very expensive wireless. Before Telstra commenced the turn on they made sure that “the Government … made clear it did not consider a compelling case had been made for regulating third-party access to the service”. Other ISPs don’t think so, even though I have to side with Telstra on this one. They are in the money making business for their shareholders. If these networks were to be available for the people, then the government of the day should NOT have sold off Telstra, but left it as a public utility.
Bottom line: Despite this new capacity and services, cheap, fast broadband is still unobtainium in Australia if you don’t live in a Metropolitan location.