Hello happy bandwidth

Does Telstra's decision to finally uncap the speed of its ADSL services signal the end of Australia's broadband drought?

commentary When a sudden rainstorm sweeps across a parched land, the locals don't idly wonder why it happened or question the will of the powers that be.
Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia

Instead, they dance around madly in the downpour, cheering and blessing their good luck.

This is the same approach that should be taken with respect to Telstra's abrupt announcement last Friday that it had dramatically dialled up the bandwidth on its ADSL broadband service.

Suddenly, millions of Australians have access to broadband speeds of up to 8Mbps or 20Mbps, where they were previously artificially limited to 1.5Mbps. The up to 8Mbps speeds will also be resold by other Internet service providers.

Now of course Telstra has had the capacity to sell the higher speeds for some time -- since the opening years of this decade when ADSL was first launched, according to its competitors.

Nobody can really say why the telco has held back.

Telstra itself has offered varying reasons over time such as onerous government regulations and a lack of demand for higher speeds, while rivals accuse the telco of trying to maintain revenue from existing high-speed services typically charged in the thousands of dollars per month.

But never mind that.

Just for this week, maybe it's a good time to take a step back and look at how the availability of broadband in Australia has improved recently. Let's count our blessings.

Telstra's announcement comes on the back of a wave of bandwidth-related announcements that has seen Australia's largest telcos start to offer higher broadband speeds.

There are now multiple fixed and wireless broadband networks operating in metropolitan areas, and Telstra's Next G network and the federal government's Broadband Connect funding package even bring hope for better broadband to the bush.

But it's not just higher speeds that are coming -- it's lower pricing too.

In a research note distributed yesterday, Ovum analyst David Kennedy noted the "very real prospect" of an imminent price war in broadband -- especially in the metro market.

All of this can only be good for customers parched by a historical broadband drought Down Under.

Is Australia's broadband drought ending, or are recent developments just a dribble of relief? Drop me a line directly at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au or post your comments below this article.