Despite the rush by other providers to start selling so-called naked DSL, where broadband is sold without a phone line, the nation's third largest telco AAPT today said it would continue to hold back on the grounds that the product has been priced too low.
AAPT GM networks and technology, David Yuile
AAPT's general manager of networks and technology, David Yuile, said the telco was watching with interest, but didn't think it was prudent to jump into the fray.
"We think with the price point that naked's gone out at, it's going to be difficult for [providers] to make money," he said, adding that the support costs for naked are higher than for normal broadband, because the carrier was running a dedicated unbundled local loop service over the copper telephone lines. Traditonal DSL broadband has been based on the line sharing service standard, a different offering from wholesale provider Telstra.
"The cost of fault-finding to that piece of equipment at the end of the [line] is a lot higher," said Yuile.
In addition to this cost burden, Yuile said that fixing quality issues becomes a murky area with naked DSL. If a normal phone line didn't work, he said, it was Telstra's duty to fix it as the wholesale provider, but it's less certain when internet telephony quality takes a hit. Internet telephony or VoIP runs on top of the broadband connection rather than as a separate service.
"Consumers are quite demanding. They want to pick up the phone and have it work," he said.
This stance represents an about turn from AAPT's aggressive statements in August last year, when the group's CEO Paul Broad promised naked DSL by Christmas.
However, the telco is not totally ruling naked DSL out, Yuile said. It just wants to wait until the offering matures. "We think naked's got a place, but it's got to settle," he said.