State Internet body slams broadband price frenzy

State Internet body slams broadband price frenzy

Summary: Protests over Telstra's new broadband deals continued as the Western Australian Internet Association (WAIA) expressed their outrage, claiming the telecommunications heavyweight has delivered a "devastating blow" to competition in the Internet industry.WAIA said other Internet service providers could not match up to BigPond's minimum AU$29.

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Protests over Telstra's new broadband deals continued as the Western Australian Internet Association (WAIA) expressed their outrage, claiming the telecommunications heavyweight has delivered a "devastating blow" to competition in the Internet industry.

WAIA said other Internet service providers could not match up to BigPond's minimum AU$29.95 retail monthly prices without suffering losses on every account as Telstra charged wholesale buyers in excess of AU$40 per month to supply ADSL services to customers.

Charlie Stephens, a spokesman for WAIA, said the Australian ISP industry was "reeling in shock" after Telstra's announcement.

"There are two key issues to be considered here - fair competition by the incumbent telecommunications provider and also fairness to the consumer," said Stephens.

WAIA said the cheap broadband accounts offered by BigPond were not all they were cracked up to be, as the modest monthly download allowance could be difficult for new users to monitor, leading to customers paying high excess download fees.

"Inexperienced users could...be surprised by large download bills each month. For example, watching a single 700 megabyte movie would cost AU$105," Stephens said. "Viruses and spam can also lead to unexpected traffic bills".

Subscribers to the new "entry level" BigPond deals will be allotted a download quota of 200 megabytes per month, with all traffic thereafter being charged at 15 cents per megabyte.

Stephens urged customers to carefully examine their Internet provider's terms and conditions and to make themselves aware of any extra charges before entering into a contract with them.

"It is unfair to consumers to promote an account which charges a massive premium on downloads," said Stephens.

WAIA said it would be making a formal complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on behalf of its members. The ACCC is already investigating the Telstra announcement.

Topics: Broadband, Browser, Government AU, Telcos, Optus, Telstra, NBN

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7 comments
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  • Telstra has a long term strategy that heavily involves the Internet. They realise that the Internet will become more and more widely used, and that at some stage, there will be more e-commerce and such generating money. Hence, the more customers they have, the more money will flow through them and the more commissions / fees they can charge. Telstra is grabbing market share, nothing more. The way they are doing it is a blatent misuse of market power. This is why Telstra should never have been privatised.
    anonymous
  • Privatisation ALWAYS leads to problems. In the power industry it was lack of maintainence on the power infrustructure and massive price hikes.
    For telstra it was pretty much the same.
    So, why are we surprised when they (telstra) act drastically to stop customers choosing better ISPs for their broadband?
    Telstra's loyalty shifted from their customers to their shareholders immediatley after the 1st batch of shares went on sale.
    Blame bloody Johhny Howard and his cronies!
    This is just 1 more reason they must be got rid of later this year.
    zybch
  • Telstra (nee Telecom) have always screwed their clients. Now they have moved up a notch and they now screw the companies their previous clients might have moved to in order to gain relief.

    Now they are still screwing the taxpayer who THOUGHT they originally owned Telstra through the taxes they had paid.

    Who will purchase Telstra when surely their monopoly must be broken?

    And what are the pollies doing about this "zzzzzzzzzzzz"
    terryfs@...
  • Their new plans may be cheaper but they are still a rip off. Any one who signs up with Telstra without checking plan details deserves everything they get, be it anti-competitive or not.
    anonymous
  • Undeducated consumers continue to complain.
    One minute, Telstra charges too much for Broadband and people complain they are paying too much.
    The next minute when the prices come down, people complain that it will squeeze out competition.

    The fact is, a government-owned Telstra will not necessarily deliver lower prices, and it will certainly not increase competition.

    Telstra, whether it is government owned or privatised, needs to operate as a business, and make profits. Hypothetically, if it is nationalised again, and forced to charge low rates for Broadband, this would (a) squeeze competition and (b) result in taxpayers subsidising a loss-making business.

    Privatisation vs. Nationalisation is not the issue. Lack of true competition in infrastructure is the real issue.
    anonymous
  • do the math the new plan is really pricey.
    anonymous
  • I think Telstra are probably one the most expensive providers even though offering a cheap pakage. $29.95 for 200mb is a REAL bad deal considering other providers can offer 6 gigs for $39.95. I always tell people to read the fine print when it comes to these big companies as they are ruthless when it comes to marketing ploys and their bottom line.
    anonymous