Perth-based Internet service provider Westnet will next month start offering high-speed ADSL2+ broadband services, utilising the network of SingTel subsidiary Optus.
Westnet will be one of the last major Australian ISPs to launch ADSL2+ services, which allow speeds of up to 24Mbps, as opposed to ADSL1's 8Mbps maximum. The higher speeds are already available in select areas from iiNet, Internode, Telstra, Optus, Adam Internet, Netspace, TPG and others.
"We have experienced a significant level of interest from our members regarding ADSL2+ in recent months, so we're excited to make this service available to new and existing customers," Westnet managing director Peter Brown said in a statement today.
Westnet said Optus had enabled some 200 telephone exchanges for ADSL2+, with 140 more planned for the next nine months. In April last year, Westnet was believed to have dumped its existing upstream bandwidth providers AAPT and Telstra for Optus.
In March last year, Westnet considered rolling out its own ADSL2+ network, and had even tested hardware from a number of vendors. However, since that time the ADSL2+ wholesale market has opened up, with iiNet as well as Optus making their networks available to third parties.
Westnet has differentiated itself in the market through focusing on customer service levels.
"Our investment is not in infrastructure, but in service," Brown said today. "Our strength is the distribution of quality Internet products with an industry-leading customer service component."
However, like several other ISPs such as iiNet and Optus, Westnet will only make the higher ADSL2+ speeds available when customers also purchase telephony services from the ISP. Monthly line rental on Westnet's phone service starts from AU$26.95 -- AU$7 more expensive than Telstra's minimum plan.
Westnet's ADSL2+ services are available from AU$29.95 for 500MB of downloads per month, to AU$89.95 for 60GB of combined on- and off-peak usage.
Also, users on the minimum plan (AU$29.95) will be charged AU$6 for every gigabyte of data downloaded each month above their 500MB limit. Extra charges for data downloaded will be capped at AU$50 per month.
For its other plans, the ISP will lower users' speeds when they exceed their monthly quota.
Westnet currently claims some 176,000 Internet, 18,000 phone and 11,000 hosting subscribers, and has 400 employees.