Telstra defends cable Internet charging call

Telstra has defended its decision not to automatically upgrade existing customers on unlimited download cable Internet plans to newly-released cheaper prices, claiming the option exists for them to migrate to the new deal if they ask. The unlimited cable plans have been offered to new customers for a monthly fee of AU$59.

Telstra has defended its decision not to automatically upgrade existing customers on unlimited download cable Internet plans to newly-released cheaper prices, claiming the option exists for them to migrate to the new deal if they ask.

The unlimited cable plans have been offered to new customers for a monthly fee of AU$59.95 since last Friday, cutting AU$10 off the regular price for the exact same product. The move leaves present customers, who may be unaware that they must request the discount, paying more for the same service.

BigPond Public Affairs manager Craig Middleton told ZDNet Australia that customers have been advised of the new pricing schemes via the BigPond newsletter 'Ponderings' and the information is available on the Web site.

"We are advising customers via the Web site and the BigPond newsletter, they just need to advise us," Middleton said.

Paul Budde, outspoken veteran telecommunications analyst, says this behaviour is typical of Telstra's business ethics, adding that the company does not have a customer service focus.

"It's a continuous trend from Telstra, they totally ignore the customers in this respect," said Budde.

Budde describes the decision of Telstra not to automatically allocate the cheaper cable prices to its existing customers as "typical" of commodity marketing tactics, which aim to confuse customers into paying more for a product.

"Telstra need to be more direct, they always make it complicated for the customers," Budde said.