OzEmail is offering a "starter" deal for a monthly flat-rate of AU$29.95 per month with no excess usage costs. The deal has a download allowance of 300MB per month at a premium speed of 256Kbps, slowing to 56 Kbps once the download limit has been reached.
Managing director of OzEmail, Trevor Duff, says the new flat-rate broadband plans were specifically designed to remove the "broadband bill-shock" that customers on other plans may experience.
"Other ISPs charge up to 15 cents per megabyte - without warning - once a customer reaches their download limit. The result is bill-shock - a bill at the end of the month that, while giving the ISP a tidy sum, gives their customers a real shock," said Duff.
Veteran telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, says capped monthly fees are becoming the standard for all new broadband deals.
"We have been internationally criticised for not having such services to protect customers," said Budde, adding that many other companies are also moving in this direction.
"Optus was the first (on its cable modem network) iiNet, TPG and Pacific Internet all launched ADSL services in the weeks just before OzEmail followed them," said Budde.
Other flat-rate ADSL offers on the market include Optus' DSL Starter, offering a 300 MB download allowance at speeds of 512Kbps for AU$39.95 per month; iiNet is offering a bundled monthly deal for AU$24.95 per month, with a 200 MB allowance at speeds of 256Kbps; TPG offers a similar plan for AU$19.95, however their price has an AU$40 cap equating to a maximum monthly charge of AU$59.95.
Budde says at the moment customers should be looking for plans that offer "always-on" connectivity and unlimited downloads rather than fast speeds at this stage of broadband development.
"Most users would still be ok with 300/500Kbps services. This will change in 12-18 months time when people start to more frequently start sending and receiving pictures and video clips," said Budde.
Budde says "the need for fibre to home networks is clearly arriving on the horizon", predicting that by the end of the decade 10Mbps will become the benchmark along with a higher degree of multi-access services.
"The next step will be to use broadband for VoIP and other services. Instead of needing access subscriptions to telephone, Internet/broadband, pay TV we will see bundles even including mobile as the mobile number will start to mirror the landline number," said Budde.