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Australia lagging on fixed broadband

According to a report issued by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, Australia has been ranked 21st among world nations for the percentage of the population connected to the Internet, with 79 percent of the population now online.
With 21 percent of the Australian population remaining without a broadband connection, Australia placed well behind top ranked European nations such as Iceland (95% connected), Norway (94% connected) and the Netherlands (92% connected). New Zealand came in at ninth place with 86% of the population holding a broadband connection.
The UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development tracks progress towards achieving targets set by the commission in 2011 for boosting broadband affordability and uptake.
Read more here
Source: smarthouse.com.au

Broadband pricing major issue for NBN

Researchers from Swinburne University say the affordability of broadband and encouraging its use in low income households poses a major issue for the National Broadband Network. The research found five out of six Australians are online but four in ten households earning less than $30,000 a year could not afford broadband. As more people use broadband and more services become available, those households without a broadband connection are at an increasingly greater disadvantage.
Read the full article here
Source: theconversation.edu.au

Cheap Broadband Internet Plans Deals and Special Offers

Cheap broadband plans, or Internet deals, don’t always fit the description that you’re looking for, after all you need to be careful of the ‘hidden’ terms and conditions and pitfalls that some Internet Service Providers place on their broadband offerings. Fortunately, and thanks to consumer protective associations such as the ACCC, many broadband providers have cleaned up their act and as a result, most of their broadband products are now more transparent.

When considering a cheap broadband plan these days, I believe it’s almost as important for the consumer to know what they require from a plan let alone their concerns of being taken for a ride. The main two factors that come into mind are ‘data limits’ and ‘flexibility’. Firstly, you need to know how much data are you going to use – Will it be enough? What if it’s not and I have to move up or down? Will I get charged to do this? These questions lead me to the second factor of Flexibility – This option can be very handy to have when needing to move up and down through various plans/data limits or perhaps to move on to another provider.

Remember, cheapest is not always best, especially when it comes to mobile broadband as this product can vary dramatically in quality. However in the case of fixed line broadband, if you’re content with the factors that I spoke of (data limits and flexibility), you have more of a chance of getting yourself a cheap broadband plan that you may be happy with.

Drunken threat wont stop the Pipe Dream

When an executive from a leading Australian ISP threatens to ‘cut you off at the knees’ one can’t help but think theres something pretty serious going down. What’s more the threat came across as if the person was drunk, nice!

“I think their term was that they threatened to ‘cut us off at the knees’ and ‘make us their special project’. So it was a pretty interesting phone call,” Mr Slattery said. “I think he was drunk.”

Confused? OK, if you’re not up-to-date with the scenario it goes a little something like this….. PIPE Networks, who is Australia’s largest peering provider, has embarked on a project which consists on rolling out a 9000km submarine fibre-optic data link from Australia to Guam (U.S.). After this is in place and switched on, sometime in August 2009, it is believed that it should go a long way in making Broadband prices/usage limits more competitive and thus apply a little more pressure on the current duopoly of Telstra and Optus. Starting to get the picture?

You see, both Telstra and Optus, who are big players in the ISP market, also own huge shares in other cable links that deliver data in and out of Australia. Telstra have a 47% share in the Australian Japan Cable while Optus has a 40% stake in Southern Cross Cable. So up until now, these two Telecommunication providers have basically been able to control the price of broadband and data usage limits to a degree.

It’s believed that the new PIPE Networks undersea cable will significantly reduce the cost of International bandwidth and force further competition within the Australian Broadband Industry. PIPE Network chief executive Bevan Slattery, who led the revival of the project from the clutches of the Q4 2008 financial crisis, said the journey had been ‘arduous’, while iiNet’s managing director Michael Malone indicated that his company is seeking to pass on the cost saving to the consumer by increasing bandwidth limits which could be anywhere up to 15%. iiNet are one of two other  ISPs, namely Primus and Internode, who have invested in the submarine cable project.

If what Mr Slattery said about the threat is true, in my opinion it’s pretty bloody bad form by a leading Telecommunication provider to carry on like this and threaten PIPE Networks …This might be the nature of business, but I’m sure that most Australian broadband consumers out there would agree with me on that one. I just hope that iiNet and co deliver on their expectations and pass on the value to the consumer once the project is operational. Good luck PIPE!

BigPond to introduce Cheap Wireless Broadband?

According to news just to hand, Telstra are currently evaluating the possibility of lowering Wireless Broadband prices. With rivals offering Wireless Broadband Plans substantially cheaper than BigPond, along with expected Wireless speed upgrades, Telstra may have no option other than to lower prices and or raise usage limits.


Broker Goldman Sachs JBWere also notes competition from wireless products could cut into Telstra’s fixed-line broadband offerings.


Telstra said it had 329,000 wireless broadband customers at June 30, 2007, but this number is expected to have risen significantly in the past six months.


In June, Telstra had a market share of around 47 per cent


Read the entire ‘Telstra has scope for cheaper broadband’ article at MISaustralia.com

New PIPE to lower costs and increase speeds

As expected, Pipe Networks have announced the go ahead of their $200 million submarine Internet cable project (PPC-1) which is due to open in June 2009. Federal Communications Minister ‘Stephen Conroy’ suggested that the new undersea cable would also open up the Broadband market and not only reduce costs, but moreover, increase Broadband speeds.


PPC-1 aka ‘Project Runway’ will rival Telstra and Optus Internet pipelines with Pipe Networks Executive Director ‘Lloyd Ernst’ referring to the scenario as a ‘Qantas’ v ‘Tiger’ type situation that could invoke a Broadband price war in the near future. Some of Australia’s leading Internet Services Providers such as iiNet, Internode & Primus are among those already signed up on PPC-1.


News of the Project Runway’s announcement is right up there with that of a new National FTTN Broadband network. This should give our current ailing and expensive Broadband Industry a right old shakeup with consumers the ones to benefit.  


At today’s launch in Melbourne, Senator Conroy said the new cable “fit very neatly” with government plans for a super fast fibre optic broadband network, by increasing the broadband carrying capacity from overseas.

It is due to open in June next year and Pipe Network executive director Lloyd Ernst today said PPC-1 was undercutting its competitors’ prices by 50 per cent.

Mr Ernst likened his company to budget airline Tiger Airways, saying he hoped to “disrupt” the broadband market and drive more competition.


Read the entire article at News.com.au

Internode Choice No.1 for ADSL2+ Broadband

4000 Internet Service Provider customers recently had their say in a survey conducted by Choice – Australian Consumer Advisory organization. Topping the list of satisfied customers were Internode subscribers who said that they were very satisfied with price, performance and support of Internode’s Extreme ADSL2+ Broadband services.


74% of Internode customers said they were very satisfied with ADSL2+ Broadband which was well clear of 2nd place coming in at 48%. Choice suggested that Internode customers were likely to be very satisfied overall for connection speed, costs and payment option in regards to their ADSL2+ services.


This is great news for people wishing to obtain ADSL2+ Broadband in areas that Internode DSLAM is available, however I hope this stamp of approval by Choice will not prompt Internode to raise their prices shortly down the track.

“Internode ADSL customers were more likely to rate the support staff as very good for the technical help, time taken to resolve queries, communication skills and patience‚Ķ Internode ADSL2/2+ users were very unlikely to change service provider in the next 12 months,” according to the report. – Choice

 
Get a great deal on an Internode ADSL2+ Broadband service right here!


ISP Survey – Choice.com.au

Cheap Broadband Internet Bundles and Plans

For many people on tight budgets saving money is of vital importance especially if you need to meet monthly house, car or boat repayments. A few dollars here and there can really make a difference and Broadband Internet (including home phone, mobile phone, VoIP & Pay TV) is an area where significant savings can be made. Let’s explore some of the following key factors that may assist you with saving some $$$ while checking out cheap Broadband Internet Products, bargains, special offers, discounts and deals.


Know your Product
It definitely helps to know your product. What I mean by this is ‘What type of Broadband do you require and how much do you intend to use it’. There’s no point in purchasing a Broadband product that you will not make full use of. Firstly, why pay more for a very fast connection if you’re not going to take advantage of it, if a slower speed is cheaper and will suit your requirements? Or, why pay more for a plan with a huge usage limit that you’ll barely touch? But hang on you say, ‘but how do I know how much speed and usage I’ll need?’  Here’s two pointers that may assist you.

Start off Small:
Typical terms and conditions with most Broadband Providers allow customers to change their contract options. Some fees usually apply when requesting a Usage Limit downgrade (ex. dropping from 20GB plan per month to 10GB), or when requesting a Speed drop (ex. ADSL 8000kbps to ADSL 1500kbps).  Obviously, larger usage limits and fast connection speeds are more expensive. A 512kbps or 1500kbps speed with 2GB usage limit is a great starting point. It’s generally more than enough for those that only occasionally check emails, surf a couple of websites and perform banking online. If this type of set up is not suiting your needs, you can always upgrade to another speed/usage limit at the start of you’re next billing period (usually for fee). Important to note: ADSL2+ and Cable Broadband use different technologies and upgrading from ADSL to ADSL2+ or Cable may not be directly available. You will first need to check with your Provider.


Research:
You’re obviously on the Internet reading this article now, so why don’t you head across to our Broadband Help section where you can view some useful conversion tables. The link below will relocate you to a list of three tables that include a ‘Download Usage Guide’ with approximated download usage figures. Furthermore, you could also use a search engine like ‘Google’ to find other useful comparison tables and facts. http://broadbandguide.com.au/broadbandhelp/broadbandhelp/21-Broadband-Conversion-Tables 


Broadband Bundles
Bundling Broadband with products such as Home Phone, Mobile Phone, Pay TV and VoIP services can greatly reduce you’re monthly costs. Providers who offer 1, 2 or more of these services will usually give a set discount or multiple discounts according to how many products are bundled with your Broadband service. On the surface, monthly fees will appear as being reduced, however you will need to crunch all the call rates, line rental fees and start up fees among other hidden charges to really iron out the overall monthly saving, if any?


Cheap Broadband Plans
Cheap Broadband is not necessarily the best value for money Broadband, and although many cheap Broadband Plans can be exceptional value all round, its recommended that you do your research into the product. Attributes that you should consider scrutinizing prior to signing your life away are: 


Network & Routing Quality:
ISP’s need to peer with one another to exchange your data over their networks. The Internet backbone is made up from a number of interconnected routes which carry data across the world. Smaller ISP’s (such as a regional ISP) will either resell products through a larger ISP network or connect to  larger Providers who in turn may connect to a larger network backbone. Much routing occurs on the Internet which can greatly affect Broadband quality. Routing Protocols, Switches, Configurations, Network loads and the expertise of Network administrators can mean the difference between a good Internet Network and average Internet Network. Much like most services, cheap Broadband can have it’s pros and cons. Research your Provider’s network where possible.


Terms and Conditions:
The T & C’s (fine print) of a Broadband Product is an area where the overall expense and savings can really be calculated. A typical Provider will give you a ‘minimum monthly spend’ over the contract period of time in these notes. Other fees and charges can also be located in the T & C’s or usually elsewhere on the site. Key factors to consider here are:

Is there a cap for exceeding your limit?
Some Providers may shape (slow) your connection speed if your monthly usage limit is reached early and excess data is used. Generally shaping means that you don’t have to pay extra,otherwise you may be charged. Ex. 10 cents for every MB used thereafter. This may, or may not be capped at a certain excess limit. Therefore 1GB over your limit could amount to an extra $100 on your monthly bill. Some Providers may cap you at a certain excess limit, charge you for this, then shape you. Ex. Once 500MB cap is reached and is charged at $XX, your speed will be reduced thereafter with no additional fees being charged. A cheap plan could be just that, but what about the hidden fees and conditions? ‘Shaping’ is generally the safer option to take if available.


Early contract termination or relocation fees
As this suggest, if you need to cancel your contract early for any reason, what will an early cancellation fee cost you? This could in fact amount to the total remaining monthly charges or a % of such. Same with relocating, how much will an ISP charge you to do this? Make enquiries.


Fees and charges all vary from Provider to Provider and the costs involved may even change you’re opinion on a ‘cheap plans’ in some cases. Speak to your intended Provider’s sales team and find out all there is to know about additional ‘hidden’ charges before making any assumption on cheap Broadband plans.


Broadband Special Offers, Discounts and Internet Deals
Finally, the special offers and discounts that ISP’s use to lure customers to their products.

Common deals and discounts are ‘free hardware’ (modems/routers), free installation, free monthly fees (eg. 1, 2, 3 or 4 months free), Bundling Discounts (as discussed), lower call rates, half price offers etc.. etc.. Most of these deals and discounts are obviously used to promote and encourage  the customer to sign up to a Broadband Product.  Most are pretty much self explanatory too. Free monthly charges are a little bit tricky as most innocent consumers think their first 2 or 3 months will be free. Ah haa! Well think again cause some Providers may give you the 1st month free, then the 6th month free followed by the 12th month free when advertising ‘3 free months’. Again, look out for the contract terms and what you’re getting locked into. Sure a few free months can substantially lower your overall costs, but what is the compromise? Most Providers will try and entice the customer into locking into a 24mth contract by dangling juicy deals, discounts, and offers over their heads. Locking you in means you may have to pay a significant amount of money if you should decide to leave early for whatever the reason. Weigh up the costs involved in  a 6, 12 and 24month contract. Will it pay to sign up over a longer period?


Do you’re research, surf around, google search terms. Make a list and call your prospective Providers to enquire. After all, it’s what their sales and support help desks are there for.


Cheap Broadband at Broadband Guide
Broadband Bundles at Broadband Guide 

Naked DSL Broadband Bundles

Sick of paying for a residential phone line connection that you don’t even use? Well we’ve got good news for you. Many Australian Broadband Providers recognize your dilemma and are currently preparing to launch revamped Broadband Plans that include landline rental.


Typical Home Phone line rental charges are usually around $20-$30 per month. However by including line rental within the upcoming revamped Broadband plans, prices may only rise by as little as $5 per month. Not bad huh? This should suit those who use Mobile phones as their principle method of telecommunication along with those who are seeking to make use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services.

So when did you last use your home phone line, how much do you use it and how much are you paying for your monthly bill? Why pay for phone line rental and calls when you can use a VoIP Broadband Telephone service (including calls) for a fraction of the price. Many VoIP Providers offer bundles and packages that incorporate all phone/call charges in one monthly bill.


For example. It’s not uncommon for a VoIP provider to offer a VoIP service that includes a monthly access fee, free local calls, free national calls and very cheap Mobile and International call rates for as little as $10-15per month. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well it’s true!  Add a VoIP Bundle to your monthly Broadband Internet bill and it’s probably safe to say that many Australians will come in under the $100 per month mark.

entry level 4GB plan will cost $44.95, around $5 more than the ISP’s equivalent regular ADSL plans.


because Telstra owns the copper infrastructure and wholesales it to its competitors, the telco could previously set prices that were so high they made residential naked DSL services unviable. But a decision by the competition regulator late last year meant Telstra was forced into lowering its access prices.

“Consumers will save money doing this but they won’t save an amount of money equivalent to 100 per cent of their line rental,” said Internode CEO Simon Hackett


View Broadband Home Phone, Mobile Phone, Pay TV & VoIP Bundles here at Broadband Guide


Read the entire article at TheAge.com.au

ADSL2+ Broadband price drop

The Internet Industry Association has just released their latest quarterly broadband index which displays figures that show ADSL2+ prices are starting to drop in price and are better value for money over slower ADSL services. The index shows that some customers are far better off taking the 17Mbps Speed Broadband services over those with speeds of 256kpbs in the 500MB – 2GB usage limit range.

It concluded that, on a total cost of Broadband basis (ie. start up costs plus headline fees plus usage charges), Australians would have been paying between $38.95 (ultra low users at 256kbps) and $85.70 (heavy users at 17Mbps+) per month for their broadband service assuming that they picked the most economical standalone package.

Pricing used in the report was extracted directly from the ISP websites on 28th September 2007. Pricing comparisons are based on four user profiles based on hypothetical usage levels: ‘ultra low’ (200MB per month), ‘low’ (500MB per month), ‘medium’ (2GB per month) and ‘high’ (10GB per month).


Read the entire article at ITWire.com.au

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