Telstra BigPond launches new billing system

BigPond's new billing and activation platform moves from pilot to the first stage of operation this week, with all new customers who sign up online for ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) services brought on board from Friday.A BigPond spokesperson confirmed the six-month trial of the platform -- core to the carrier's AU$100 million program to build what it describes as a "world-class Internet service provider (ISP)" -- was in its final stages in the leadup to rollout.

BigPond's new billing and activation platform moves from pilot to the first stage of operation this week, with all new customers who sign up online for ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) services brought on board from Friday.

A BigPond spokesperson confirmed the six-month trial of the platform -- core to the carrier's AU$100 million program to build what it describes as a "world-class Internet service provider (ISP)" -- was in its final stages in the leadup to rollout.

The spokesperson said the trial, involving 1,000 customers and staff, had gone "extremely well".

He said by mid-August, all new ADSL subscribers -- regardless of the channel [customer acquisition] by which they come on board -- would be hosted on the new platform.

The overall billing migration program is expected to take about a year, with cable customers expected to follow ADSL onto the platform. Once complete, the platform will host an Internet subscriber base that recently cracked the two million mark -- 1.2 million dial-up and 800,000 on broadband. BigPond dominates the Australian ISP marketplace with around 40 percent market share.

According to BigPond, the new platform allows it to offer a wider range of bill payment options, expedite the process by which users can shift between Internet access technologies and introduce pricing initiatives more quickly. It replaces an ageing hotch-potch of billing systems.

The news came as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed the takeup of broadband services in Australia had climbed to 1.84 million by the end of March.

ACCC commissioner Ed Willett said the figure represented a 122 percent rise over the preceding 12-month period.

The timing of the platform's launch is extremely good for BigPond, with Telstra's incoming chief executive, Solomon Trujillo, expected to review the carrier's technology as part of a strategic review of its operations.