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The Almighty Buck

Pity Broadband Users In Australia 178

danwarne writes: "Pity Australians who have few other choices for their broadband internet than the country's incumbent telco Telstra. A broadband community website, Whirlpool, has revealed that the giant telco is planning to RAISE prices on broadband again for the second time in just a few months. The telco, which has had a technically disastrous ADSL rollout is also going to be offering incentives for customers to sign up to its cable internet service (HFC) instead, in the form of faster plans for cable customers (until now most customers -- cable and ADSL -- have been limited to 512Kbit download speeds). It seems clear from Telstra's plans that they are preparing to abandon the 'messy' residential broadband market and focus on more profitable business customers." In the next few weeks, lucky Australians will find out if this "leak" is accurate.
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Pity Broadband Users In Australia

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  • Optus (Score:4, Informative)

    by smallstepforman ( 121366 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:36AM (#2875509)
    Thank god for Optus. Its cheaper than the gov. sponsored Telstra, it doesn't have ridiculous caps, its faster than Telstra and the service is hassle free. In neighbourhoods where both Optus and Telstra have rolled out cables, Optus is mopping the floor with Telstra guts. Unfortunately, only portions of large metropolitan areas have access to Optus cable.

    Quick question - why is Slashdot so interested in DownUnder? Most of these telco idiosynchrocies come from Telstra, not Optus.
    • Quick question - why is Slashdot so interested in DownUnder?

      Maybe there are just more nerds down there.
    • Re:Optus (Score:3, Informative)

      Yep, I have been on Optus for over a year now. All the other people I know of who joined Telstra have had terrible problems with reliability, download speeds, and funky bandwidth forming.

      On Optus it's open slather pretty much. During the early period there was even no download limit at all. People had Rx rates in the 200G a week.
    • Re:Optus (Score:4, Informative)

      by Stormie ( 708 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:49AM (#2875539) Homepage

      Unfortunately, only portions of large metropolitan areas have access to Optus cable.

      Also Optus only provide cable to houses, not apartments. When I enquired about getting connected, as soon as they heard the slash in my address, they said no. Apparently it costs slightly more to hook up an apartment (longer wire needed, I guess) and since they're overflowing with demand, they ignore all apartment dwellers in favour of the more profitable house dwellers.

      So here I am with Telstra, wondering if my bill is about to go up $6/month as this rumour would have it. :-(

      • Re:Optus (Score:3, Informative)

        by NightRain ( 144349 )
        Not quite. The problem is more to do with the fact that Optus does not want the expense of wiring up units because it's just not worth their time and money when they can't know how many people will be using it in each lot of units.

        And they are hardly rejecting unit dwellers from over demand. See this thread on WP. =1630972932

        They're actually shutting down nodes, which to me says that they're not interested in being in the game for too much longer.

      • This is generally the case, however I've seen several circumstances where apartments have been fitted out with cable. Two in Chatswood, (if you're in Sydney), one in Redfern. One of them in Chatswood had Optus *and* Telstra.

        If you can attend the fascist ^H^H^H^H^H^H body corporate meetings and convince people what a good thing it would be to have cable. Then the body corporate can go to the ISP and make a deal.

        The problem isn't the ducting or the hassle of laying cable. The problem is that the ISPs *know* what a load of fascist layabouts body corporates can be. Committees can discuss the issues of cable for years if given the chance. ISPs don't have to time for that crap.

        So try it out - you never know!
    • Re:Optus (Score:2, Informative)

      by jquirke ( 473496 )
      Optus cable is only available in patchy areas of metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne, last time I heard.

      It's not just the area you live in, for me (in Melbourne), the Optus cable runs 50m away on the main road, but cannot come into my street due to underground cabling restrictions.
      • Re:Optus (Score:3, Informative)

        by NightRain ( 144349 )
        It's available in Brisbane as well, so the 3 major cities are covered.

        • Covered! You're funny.

          Optus@Home do not cable underground. Optus@Home do not cable houses. Optus@Home aren't cabling new people in at least parts of Qld.
          • Not cabling houses? You mean town houses I take it? They fall under the same category as apartments, as they are covered by a body corporate.

            They most certainly do cable houses, as that is where most of their market reside.

            And I covered the removal of nodes in an earlier post. I'm aware that Brisbane isn't fully covered, but it's in similar proportions to Melbourne and Sydney.

            • Argh! Third time lucky maybe.

              Yes, silly me, I meant units/flats/town houses etc. Don't I feel silly?
      • Well im in brisbane and i have hads optus over 12 months - no outages longer than 60 mins and speeds up to 1.5mb down , i have never exceeded the AUP and i average 650mb a day (and often more) - the service is excellent if you can get it - my brother has ADSL thru bigpond and he has refused to pay for 4 months as it wont work for him, they keep promising it will get better.

        if you can get Optus Cable do it - if not look around for an alterative vendor, companies like Powerlan have laid their own cable lines and can now deliver ADSL as well - remember that the lines may be telstras but the service and server infrastructure of these companies isnt.
    • by Koos ( 6812 )
      why is Slashdot so interested in DownUnder? Most of these telco idiosynchrocies come from Telstra, not Optus.
      Sometimes you want to read about the 'networking third world' after having read about another person who can only select from 2 cable isp's and 3 dsl isp's somewhere else in the world ;)

      I saved a good story/rant [] about Australian Internet prices.

    • We're interested, at least I am, not so much because it's DownUnder, but rather a preview of things to come, as greedy megacorporate power sucks the most possible revenue out of the once promising entity called the internet.

      I'm all for starting a new internet, with IP addresses loosely based on GPS coordinates, a sane set of policies for name services, and gateways to the "real" internet. We could fix all the mistakes of the current version, as percieved at this time.

      We could use wireless, IP6, and encourage the use of gateways to the LEGACY internet for compatabilities sake.


      • Well, I'm interested in how things work out in Oz because I'm a resident of the United States, which is similarly populated by some large cities and vast territories that are expensive to wire.

        This is rather different than, say, Europe, where 90% of their territory is populated with a much greater density of people.

        Some have said that Canada's heavily regulated telecom's have provided nice service up there and they, too, have some sparsely populated areas with some urban centers.

        So of Australia, USA, Canada, who has done the best job of getting broadband service to the people?

    • lon32, a router in Telstra's Lonsdale St exchange in Victoria which these days handles ADSL connection has been down, according to Telstra's 1800 support number, for for days leaving a few hundred business ADSL uusers without connectivity for 95% of the time since Friday morning (its Tuesday Morning now). The Service Status [] page doesn't acknowledge this particular outage (though it does acknowledge three others).

      I work for a IT Services customer and its worth noting the amount of problems customers who use ADSL ISPs with Telstra as their upstream provider have in comparison to others, particularly ISPs reselling RequestDSL (eg, BRD) or NC/Alternet (Netspace).

      I'm no lawyer, but I know if someone wants to launch mass legal action against Telstra for this kind of shit then quite a few customers would be interested.

      • for for days

        four days, ahem. Anyway, just to double check, its 8AM Monday and lon32 is still down according to both traceroute and the 1800 number. The problem `will be fixed in an unspecified amount of time'. When it comes up, Telstra will likely close the er
        ror reports, say the connection was restored giving `the connection was restored' as the technical explanation, and issue no compensation or apology whatsoever. Thanks guys. God, just because you own the national telecommunications infrastructure doesn't mean you know how to use it.

        Just in case anyone's interested, here's a traceroute to a customer I perform tech support for's ADSL router on Tue Jan 22 08:44:54 EST 2002:

        traceroute to 203.44.X (, 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
        1 ( 9.301 ms 6.122 ms 13.005 ms
        2 ( 8.421 ms 7.441 ms 7.759 ms
        3 ( 29.544 ms 8.222 ms 7.709 ms 4 ( 8.508 ms 9.153 ms 8.064 ms
        5 ( 13.071 ms 9.408 ms 7.696
        6 ( 9.957 ms 9.580 ms 9.772 ms
        7 ( 9.612 ms 11.185 ms 10.874 ms
        8 ( 19.978 ms 20.940 ms 19.781 ms
        9 * * *
        10 * * *
        11 * * *
        12 * * *
        Fast ethernet at lon32 would typically appear after core4.

    • - why is Slashdot so interested in DownUnder?

      Maybe because it's accessible for the typically Linguistically Impaired Americans?

  • Go wireless (Score:5, Informative)

    by jamesbromberger ( 79337 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:36AM (#2875511) Homepage

    Help the free public wireless networks: Perth [], Canberra [], Melbourne [], Adelaide [],Sydney [], Gold Coast (QLD) [], Tasmania [], etc.

  • We had this coming. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TommyBear ( 317561 ) <> on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:38AM (#2875514) Homepage
    With the way the broadband industry is in Australia and the way that the Australian government here still regards broadband as only a "fanciful" thing, it is no wonder that a telco like Telstra can survive.

    We really have no choice. For instance, I used to live in a newly established estate, but because the developers did not design it with trenches, we could not get broadband cable.

    As for ADSL, Telstra is selling it wholesale (it owns most of the exchanges) to competition at or higher then it sells to customers... how's that for competition.
    • Telstra own ALL public exchanges.
      And as for ADSL prices, my Father was the product manager at the time of that price setting. He ARGUED against that price to the wholesale manager who was stubborn. Blame that guy (Who I'll not name) for the high price of ADSL.
      The ACCC recently forced Telstra to lower its price and so hopefully consumer prices would lower soon.
    • You are in charge of a large Telco and you burn about a billion dollars ($AUD) of shareholder's money. You can either:

      A) Apologise to you shareholders and learn from the experience
      B) Gouge your customers for the cash

      Guess which option Ziggy took? Not just with Internet, but also with mobile phone services which are soon to become one of the most expensive in the world.

      The price rises are nothing to do with the pofitability of ADSL operations []


  • Im the author of BPwatcher, a usage meter program that alot of us have to use instead of teh telstra usage meter program to watch our usage and ill tell you this: we certainly dont like getting pushed around us aussie's, the grouping together we do to help each other, and the help we offer each other, the amount of broadband projects cant even begin to be measured, we have the CBP (community broadband project) whirlpool, and a dozen other little groups all trying to get us what we want:

    Decent broadband.

    Aussies dont just complain, we do something about it!
    • Is there an equivilant of your program for Linux? I want something that will provide me with a web based interface that shows with graphs that shows the traffic that's unmetered and what's metered. Anyone know of one?
      • Umm.... the only one for Linux I know of is bURL (and one made by someone who hasn't distributed it with the same features as bURL). I'm currently working on one using GNUstep (so maybe it'll run on OSX if I'm lucky). At this stage, it'll just be a graphical version with bURL's features, but maybe eventually I'll add some more features.

        (What's currently stopping me is that I don't know OPENSTEP very well and have little idea how I can open a connection. Thank god for MacOSX's developers' site!)
  • by muffen ( 321442 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:52AM (#2875544)
    If you think that Australia has it bad, take a look at how Broadband is doing in Ireland []. The prices [] are like USD100/month for a 512/128 kbit connection with a 3 GIG DL LIMIT!!!!

    If you feel sorry for broadband users in Australia, I don't think I have words for what you should feel for broadband users in Ireland.
    • heh, we have a 3 gig limit too
    • If you think that Australia has it bad, take a look at how Broadband is doing in Ireland. The prices are like USD100/month for a 512/128 kbit connection with a 3 GIG DL LIMIT!!!!

      That's pretty harsh. My Aussie ADSL is the same deal (512/128, 3 gig/month limit), but it only costs about half what you're paying.

      I think England is a little worse than Australia too. At least, it was last year when I was living there. NTL cable was competitively priced but didn't actually seem to be available anywhere - maybe it has improved.

      • They completed their initial rollout, which covered quite a number of locations, but they are still expanding. They tend to keep the availability [] fairly up-to-date. Unfortunately ex-Cable&Wireless areas are still waiting for cable access using the modem in their set-top-boxes.

        The price is currently still £19.95 a month, which is excellent value compared to a typical £39.95 for BT's ADSL (where available). The service has also improved a lot since I was first connected in early 2000. They do seem to have a genuine interesting in expanding their systems to keep things running smoothly. There's no monthly bandwidth limit at the present, just the usual 512Kbps capping.

        What's more, NTL even updated their AUP to allow hosting of private servers, on the request of some users. Good on ya NTL!
      • BlueYonder cable in London is £33 a month (about $50). A little steep, but not outrageous.
        • Actually, it's only UK33 per month if you don't get your phone from TeleWest (the people who run BlueYonder) as well. If you get phone from them, it's UK25 per month, plus (IIRC) UK9 for the phone (which is less than BT charge). Considering that gets you a pretty much fixed IP (so long as you don't turn off the cable modem) and no quotas, I reckon that's a fairly good deal.
      • In the UK, I think that ADSL is available to around half the population and cable modems to about 30%. In many places the two overlap though as they both tend to be available in big towns, and neither in smaller places.

        I have BT Openworld ADSL. It costs £39.99 per month for 512Kbit/s incoming/256Kbit/s outgoing and there are no limits on the amount of data transfered, or on running servers.

        Quite a few people seem to complain about it, but in my experience it works well, and is reasonable value if you can get it.

        Cable modems cost less (maybe something like £29.99 per month) and have 128K outgoing, and have slightly more restrictive agreements on what you are alowed to use them for (they are not so keep on servers, although I believe NTL do allow you to run them, but reserve the right to tell you to stop).
      • I can't get DSL or Cable where I live (1/2 mile from one major road on one side, and another on the other side - go figure), because there aren't enough folks down my road to make digging it up worthwhile for the cable company (who have a monopoly on the area), and the local exchange is crap. Instead, I have a microwave 'wireless DSL' link from Tele2 at 512/128, for about the same as BT DSL (£50/mo) and no download caps that I'm aware of. Really quick install too - I don't think they have too many customers.

        Service is pretty good so far - no outages and decent speed, especially during the day. I wish I could get cable and pay less though, even if it is delivered by the Telewest Monkeys.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        There are different factors at play here ....

        Australia is said to be the most urbanized country in the world 87% of the popuulation live in the cities mainly clustered around the eastern seaboard and concentrated in 3 major cities. So there are often few problems with distance restrictions with ADSL (on a percentage basis). In addition the vast majority of the population live with in 1-2 km's of a high badwidth backbone.

        But the overseas link is predominatly controled by Te$tra that chargers $0.20-0.30 per megabyte. This control of the internet in Australia means that are large amount of data cross connects (between Australian network providers) across the Te$tra network .... Which Te$stra charges $0.20-0.30 per megabyte.

        So even if business were able to install the last mile link the data cost largley prevent them from providing consumer internet access..
        Te$tra also make the last mile difficult for it owns the exchanges and other infrastructure such as local cable ducts and makes it difficult to use or lease this infrastructure.
      • I live just outside Stockholm, Sweden.

        I'm paying about USD $22 per month for 10 MBps bi-directional without any caps or restrictions on running servers. DHCP, but still exceptionally good value.

        It's always nice to download the latest kernel source in a matter of seconds :-)
      • In Iceland, I pay slightly more for 256/128, also with a 3GB limit. Fortunately, traffic within the country is unmetered, so if you use local mirrors for everything big, you can get by with a much lower limit.
      • BT's Openworld turned out to be an absolute disaster for about £40 (US$60,cheapest in UK!) + £150 connection fee you would get an abosolutelly disgraced service, with plenty of packet loss (that's what pple would say!) and Cable service turned out a much better alternative with better pings and about the same download speeds (~70kb/s)
        for under £25.
    • It's great how they increased the monthly rate from E110 to E132 (more like US120) before they even released the service. If only they'd actually release the damn thing. I could take the E228 (US$200) per month they're suggesting for uncapped 1Mbit down, 256Kbit up. Right now the alternatives are dialup and/or several times more expensive.
    • That's if you can get it. I live in Shannon on the west coast, and I am not likely to see ADSL this year either.

      Couple that with the high local call costs (no such thing as free local calls) - the cheapest rate is about 0.60 an hour. During the daytime this is much more, closer to 3.00 an hour. At work, I have 60+ users hanging off a 128K ISDN connection, which costs around 900 a month in call costs alone (not to mention 750 for the ISP)
    • That is even worse then my ISP, they just raised prices with 50%. It now costs me around $40 (300DKr) for my 912/256 kbit cablemodem, with a download limit of 5GB. But damn, Irelands broadband service sucks.
    • This is exactly what I have been saying here [] . It is all well and good to cry about the price, availability or quality of service, but at least most of the complainers have the option to move within their own country (even state) to get broadband, in Ireland we have no such choice, all thanks to the idiot politicians we all know and love! Just to point out one fact regarding the parent post, the price is really like USD200 for a 1024/256 connection with static IP and no download limit (though slower than modem speeds have been rumoured at peak times so maybe you can only get 3GIG a month down anyway). The above mentioned 3GIG limited account costs about USD30/GIG after the limit. The only broadband users in Ireland are on Leased Lines (how sad am I that I had to leave my 4Megabit browsing in a former employer who decided to leave Ireland).
      • To be really honest with you, I don't even live in Ireland. I am however moving there in a few months, and what I have found in regards to internet access in Ireland is horrifying, to say the least.

        I currently live in the Netherlands, where I have a 1024/256 ADSL line that I pay USD70/month for. I think I'm downloading about 15gigs/month.

        Since I've lived in Sweden before, I thought that internet access in the Netherlands was expensive, but after seeing the Irish prices, I love my ADSL connection.

        I guess I'll drink beer for the first few months, and by that time, maybe they will launch a reasonably priced ADSL service in Ireland.
        • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @12:00PM (#2876329)

          I hate to break it to you, but I would NOT expect any reasonable sort of ADSL (Always Delayed Slightly Longer []) before 2003 in Ireland! If you want economic ADSL try 2004 or later! Currently Ireland is an Internet backwater (and the politicians are far from understanding this). Errorcom^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hircom announced an October 2nd launch of their ADSL service simply to squash any other broadband providers AND to delay the rollout of ADSL as long as possible (if you were supplying 99% of the pots and isdn lines AND 90%+ of the leased lines would you want to launch an ADSL service?). By announcing their intention to launch (and alleged pricing structures) they have forced the Office of the Department of Telecommunications Regulators [] and their main competitor [] into legal wranglings to prevent the launch of the service. The basic stumbling block is that the ODTR will not allow Errorcom (fsck them, they seem to be squashing mirrors [], the latest casualty [] which had extra info and links to mirrors is now in googles cache [] alone, of the already taken down site) to launch the service until the wholesale pricing is agreed (so errorcom can't jump the market thanks to their public funded monopoly). Unfortunatley over 3 months since this debacle there has been no progress and a lengthy war in court is expected. Even if the wholesale prices are agreed tomorrow and both companies launch their services the minimum 30 days later you should not expect the prices to drop, Irish telecoms operators (and in particular errorcom and es(h)at) have a terrible history of pricing by errorcom charging the most ridiculous amount conceivable (you've seen the proposed prices) and then the "competitors" knock maybe 10% off the price to have a slightly less ridiculous extortianate service.

          Basically you should be resigned to modem or very expensive ISDN for the next year in Ireland :-(

    • gosh... we're very lucky here (France) then:
      45 / month 512/128, no DL/UL limit, static IP.

      I understand why we had 500% more broadband users in 2001, and not some other EU countries.
      • I though Switzerland was bad, but indeed not as horrible as Ireland or Australia. Here it is about EUR 60/month for 512/128 without limits. Dynamic IP however. Static tends to cost EUR 10 extra, if you want it.
    • In The Netherlands a 512/64 (from May on 512/128) connection with static IP and a Fair Use cap costs about E 50.-/month.
      There was a bit of an outcry when the price was raised from E 45.- a few weeks ago...

  • by DavidJA ( 323792 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @06:53AM (#2875546)

    I'm from .au; and my ISP is connexus []

    They basicly re-sell telstra's ADSL service (they run their own routers, telstra routes my ADSL service from the local loop to their data center)

    The speed is 1.5meg down and 256 up. I pay around $au120/month for this, and I can run as many servers as I want, and hog all the bandwidth that I want. No real AUP.

    I have to pay per meg over my bandwidth allowance, but I rearly go over that.

    • Yeah, but your volume allowance is 500 megabytes [] per month. That's not as useful to many potential customers; I suspect paying ~US$60 a month for 500mb would send a shiver down the spine of many /. readers.

      Interesting footnote - the company director [] of XIS [], one of only two companies in .au offering realistic competition to Telstra, is still a teenager []. I hope he's up to the task, launching a broadband service nationwide the same week that Telstra raise their prices!!

      • Yeah, but your volume allowance is 500 megabytes per month
        This is why I still connect through a 56k modem here in Perth. The main reason I would want to get broadband is to download episodes of Buffy -- the lcoal free-to-air that shows it hasn't even started the most recent season yet. However, a single episode is over 700MB, and I'd want to do one a week for half the year. Plus all the rest of my traffic.

        No thanks, I'll stick to my A$25/month 160 hours a month (with rollover), no download limit dial-up. Using Optus here in Perth you never get kicked off and never get a busy signal.

    • With a 500Mb cap I DO pitty you.
      When I got my ADSL connection I downloaded the latest 2 Red Hat CD's the first night!
      On your system I could do less than a CD per month....
  • I'm only 17, yet I PAY for my own broadband. In a deal with my parents, they pay for access (US$45 / month) and I pay for ALL bandwidth, I pay US7c/MB for bandwidth. People on Telstra are lucky, they're getting a GOOD DEAL, people on Optus even more so. The reason I pay so much is because I chose to use a business ISP so that I wouldn't get and port blocking (which Optus has) and a garenteed Permanent IP.

    Whirlpool is mostly a collection of whining IDIOTS, who don't understand the real costs of running a network (I'm a part-time network admin for several networks includeing Computerbank Victoria (Pro Linux charity

    The only problem with broadband in Australia is that the per MB cost is too high, if you use BigPond Direct (one of the main backbone ISP's) the charge is US11c/MB and the cheapest cost that I've seen is with a contract that has cost almost US$50,000 a year for MANY gigs of data at US4.5c/MB.
  • From the article, you can't even get an unlimited service. This means that, should you get hacked, or have some dysfunctionnal software, you could get charged mucho $$$ at the end of the month.

    They pay 250 for 10GB download / month, this is just insane.

    Here I get unlimited 512kbps (128kbps upload) for 50, with good service overall.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Broadband residential services in Uzbekistan? UZBEKS WANT FAST INTERNET.
  • Broadband in Ireland (Score:3, Informative)

    by Draoi ( 99421 ) <draiocht@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Monday January 21, 2002 @07:24AM (#2875587)
    Consider yourselves lucky, guys. Here in Ireland we're still struggling with ISDN as being the 'broadband' solution, both for home and business users. And this is almost entirely down to the national telco (eircom) delaying and delaying on the rollout of (A)DSL. It really sux. I'm typing this over ISDN using both B channels. It costs me the price of a local call ($.05) X 2 every THREE MINUTES. And all for a massive 128K bandwidth! Whoopee!! 8-b

    [grumble, growl]

    For more details on Ireland's Broadband issues, check out Ireland Off-Line []

  • by Gavintheman ( 550731 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @07:29AM (#2875598)
    At least the people of Oz can get residential broadband! As of yet there are are no ADSL or similar products available to the residential market in Ireland. When it was originally proposed, the old semi-state monopoly, the now privatized Eircom, was going to charge 130 per month for a 512k with a 3GB cap! The regulator wants this reduced and ADSL rollout has been delayed yet again. Cable on the other hand is sold by NTL to a small area of Dublin city. Help us out at
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They are in such a sad state of affairs. Their broadband is overpriced. How depressing. And to think I was concerned about all those people in the world who don't have water piped to their towns and have no electricity. Having only one ISP is a true travesty in a world where we're drilling holes in the ozone and bombing whole countries to take down a lone, though devious, man. Lets all put our collective effort into rectifying Australia's poor ISP situation in our quest to better the world. We can make a difference.

    - ACPlus
  • Really, I despise them, their pricing, their services, their customer service is appaling from the experience I had trying to get the flippin dialup off em. And the fact that they might be about to hike prices again according to this leak is damned frustrating.
    But this comes along as such a blatant plug for whirlpool, it seems like such a load of bollocks.
    whirlpool has the reputation from people Ive talked to that.. well, its comparable to the submission acceptenace / bash windows ratio everyone rants about on slashdot.
    It all seems rather sad if you ask me.
  • I'm an Ozzie, and yes im currently paying for a Telstra ADSL connection.

    First off let me tell you all something; there has been absolutely NO corresponding level in broadband service (let alone customer service, but thats another rant) from Telstra to justify this price rise. I've had an account with them for just on 12 months, and aside from a two month period where their network attained something approaching 80% uptime, its been absolute shit.

    Secondly, Ziggy and co. have obviously realised that they cannot continue to support the ADSL network. Why? Because they are incompetent, plain and simple. Its very easy to say 'ADSL isnt making us enough money', but it doesnt really hold up when you consider they made a *half yearly* in 2001 of $4 billion AU (about $30 US :P)

    When telstra has a problem with their DSL network, their stockstandard response is 'due to the newness and complexity of the ADSL network, the current problem may take some time to fix' (or very close to that). Ahem, excuse me. ADSL may be new to Telstra, but it sure as heck isnt new to the IT world. That's excuse #1. Excuse #2 is also stock standard, 'its problems with the equipement of our provider.' Hmm, I know Alcatel may not have as good a rep as Cisco, but they're not exactly amature. After hearing this excuse for about the 50th time, I'm thinking its just one of about 10 excuses that all Telstra call centre staff have tacked on their cubicle walls.

    As for any other form of residential broadband...well, there's Optus I suppose. However, the strength of Optus was always the fact that the nitty gritty of their network was managed by Excite. Now that Excite has exited the partnership, God only knows how their network will fair the next 12 months.

    Other than that, this is just one more example of how Telstra couldn't give a toss about their users. Since they were partially privatised, their #1 priority has been share dividends. Service? They only give service if it will make them a greater profit. If they can screw the users and still make some kind of profit, they can and will.
  • Rumour has it that the reason Optus don't cable apartments is that the hardware they use for on-property signal splitting can't do it.

    I have no factual evidence for this however.
  • I joined telstra in october with the understanding from the tech guys that 4gb a month wouldn't be frowned on and that I will not incur any additional charges, 6 days later they change the pricing plan so for my 4gb I'm paying $180 a month or whatever.. so I complain to the ACCC and then whoever else will listen - Telstra give me a refund on the install (which I'm still yet to see u bastards...) and I've still got their cable modem (cause no one's asked for it back...).

    Next I've signed up with Optus and I have to say the speeds are GREAT and the download limits (15gb a month) are 5 times that of Telstra's.

    Telstra, with their chopping and changing don't really care about broadband home or small business users. Their plans are the complete opposite to what a competent broadband provide should offer and their download speeds are atrocious. So long as Optus chooses not to go down the same path I'm never going to use Telstra services again.. We have enough time getting broadband as it is without dealing with painful carriers such as Telstra...

    Telstra - as u sink.. I DON'T salute you.
  • Is the reason for high cost access in AU because of the fact that it's basically an island, or is it because the service has to reach into areas that aren't so populated?

    I know to AU's that may seem so stupid, but which is it? Could satellite access [on the ISP end] solve this problem?

    Forgive me for my ignorance. It makes sense that they charge their users so much if there is a cable from Asia/Indo-China or Hawaii going to AU, but other than that... it doesn't make sense at all.

    Don't users in Hawaii get better rates than AU?
    • I understand it's the lack of density and lack of competition. Optus@Home (formerly part-owned by Excite@Home) doesn't cable very many places at all, least of all new areas... (See my rant above.)

      Satellite access is even worse than cable/ADSL. Nowhere near affordable (something like $A400/month for the three gig cap for two-way satellite from Telstra, I think). And the ping times are useless for gamers.
    • In Sweden, who also has the problem of reaching remote users, you can get a 5MBit/2,5MBit connection for roughly USD100 in the bigger towns. ADSL is available to more than half the population, and it goes for less than USD 35 / month. DL limits are unheard of for any highspeed connection I can think of.
    • yes and no.

      part of the problem with high cost in Australia is paying for the Southern Cross cable. Well if you are using Telstra that is.

      There are other networks in Australia (PowerTel, Optus, RequestDSL, etc...) that don't use the Southern Cross cable.

      One thing that really raises the prices in Australia and really shits the city folk (me) off their rocker, is that we must subsidise the bush. Not only that, we must provide the bush people with the same level of service as that of the city. Meaning in reality, the bush doesn't get good service, but the city gets bad service. Therefore they are the same.

      If I was living in the bush, I could get subsidised Satellite because there is nothing else available. However, since I am in a new estate but in an established area, just outside of the city (bout 15-20 minutes drive from Brisbane - read Mt Gravatt) my choices are limited. I can spend a shit load paying for microwave - i don't think so tim, try and get DSL from my Telco (Telstra or Optus) and find out that I have pair gain lines (where they split multiple "lines" over the same copper pair), or move into the CBD. again, i dont think so.

      This is where a number of new companies, such as RequestDSL are doing so well, in that they are supplying a carrier grade DSL network to the business community over a SLA covered backhaul (nb, Telstra don't provide ANY SLA on any service, be it residential or business) with excellent uptime ( > 99.98%), throughput and latency.

      Here, where I am, I have both 2Mb DSL from RequestDSL and Satellite (supposed to be ~ 400K, but really only around 30K most of the time) and things don't work too badly.

      Another bad thing about Telstra's DSL is their damn authentication and heartbeat crap. What happened (such as those "real" business DSL suppliers - RequestDSL) to supplying ethernet straight from the router!?!?

      Disclaimer : I do not work for RequestDSL. However, I do work for a RequestDSL channel partner - SecureONE []
      • There are other networks in Australia (PowerTel, Optus, RequestDSL, etc...) that don't use the Southern Cross cable.

        That's actually incorrect. Telstra does buy bandwidth from Southern Cross, but buys the majority of its bandwidth from Reach (which, surprise surprise is a Telstra - PCCW joint venture).

        Like everything else Telstra does, it bills itself (that is, Reach bills Telstra) huge rates for data so it can justify charging the end user huge rates per mb (11 - 19c).

        Optus buys most of its international bandwidth from Southern Cross.
      • Look, where is all this wonderful service that you city folk are supposed to be subsidising? Around here, if you are very lucky, you can get Telstra ADSL. No cable, and in fact most phone lines around here don't reliably support more than V.34. I won't even get into the joy of non-integrated RIMs or the effects on copper phone lines of a hot climate. We in regional areas (I'm in FNQ) get totally overlooked. Everybody might be getting screwed by Telstra but don't make the mistake of thinking you're 'suffering' because we diverted facilities away from you. Not bloody likely.
        • Look, where is all this wonderful service that you city folk are supposed to be subsidising?

          You missed the point. There is NO wonderful service. Because we are subsidising you bush folk, noone gets a good / decent product.

          Now, with respect to DSL, even I (city biased person that I am) have to admit, that Telstra's problems have nothing to do with the bush. Just bad network equipment, infrastructure, planning, implementation, business policies, etc... the list is endless
  • by dirk ( 87083 ) <> on Monday January 21, 2002 @08:14AM (#2875681) Homepage
    While I agree the terms aren't all that great, the changes are both good and bad, not the horrible tragedy the article makes them out to be. Cable is going up to "full speed" (with no explanation of what that is), and is probably done because of the restrictions with DSL. It's a lot easy to get cable speed up high than DSL, and I can't blame them for emphasizing DSL over cable (as long as they offer both, who cares?).

    The lowest plan will include move MB and be cheaper on DSL (while cable prices stay the same). The extra MB charge will also drop. This is nothing but good.

    The 1GB plan is a bad value no matter which service you use apparently.

    The 3GB plan will be increasing by $6 for DSL and $15 for cable, but the excess MB prices is dropping. Seems this is worse for cable, not DSL.

    The 5GB and 10GB is staying the same except the excess MB charge is dropping. Seems this is good for everyone.

    Seems like DSL is actually getting off pretty good here. Yes, they don't get the "full speed", but they get a price break at the lowest level, and the one service that is going up is going up less than cable. And all excess MB charges are going down for both services. Maybe it's because I'm not from Australia and don't know anything about Telstra, but this seems like a more toward being better, not worse.
    • I'm on cable.

      I'm on the three gigabyte plan.

      I don't require much speed.

      I avoid at all costs going above three gigabytes because I know who'll kill me.

      My parents aren't especially pleased with the price increase. This extra fifteen dollars might see the end of our broadband connection.

      Well, it's all bad for me, and my case is not unique.
  • I'm quite happy so far. While I've only been with the service for a few months, the only problems I had were solved by me redialing in. I get peek transfers and much more than the 80% uptime people are claiming...

    As for the pricing - it is comparable to what I was paying in the US last year. Half those prices and you get around USD$50-$60.

    I don't know why these whirlpool guys love to complain soo much - we have other providers to switch to - if you don't like their pricing then don't choose Telstra. I had only one provider for broadband while living in MA, USA and I'm glad I've moved back here where I do have some choice.
    • As for the pricing - it is comparable to what I was paying in the US last year. Half those prices and you get around USD$50-$60. Yes, but you also have to halve the income. $A100 is the same percentage of an average income of an Australian as $US100 is of an American.

      I don't know why these whirlpool guys love to complain soo much - we have other providers to switch to - if you don't like their pricing then don't choose Telstra. I had only one provider for broadband while living in MA, USA and I'm glad I've moved back here where I do have some choice.

      Okay, what're the choices? Pretend you live in a new suburb, so you're on a RIM. No ADSL. And because it's a new suburb, there's no overhead cables, so no O@H. You're left with a three gig cap or beyond possibilities. Telstra ought to have a responsibility to provide Australians with an affordable broadband option, after all they have a monopoly in many areas and the government owns half of them.
      • Yes what you say is true. Unfortunately most Australian telco's don't get their international bandwidth at half price (say compared to USA, or do they?).

        Telstra ought to have a responsibility to provide Australians with an affordable broadband option, after all they have a monopoly in many areas and the government owns half of them.

        Yes, but for a company that is restructuring to be profitable in the eyes of their to-be shareholders that isn't likely to happen. After all most (?) Australians tend to want Telstra privatised. As a company that wants to make money, why should they have to be the one to support people in hard to reach places? Why can't the other Telco's do some of the real work - Optus seems to only care about high-density living areas anyway.

        • The way it is here (Alice Springs) is that there is some 12 ISP's who claim to offer internet access locally, upon contacting them, its more like 8 - of those only one offers ADSL (telstra)

          their are options like satalite however its far to costly for anyone i know, even if you have your own hardware telstra INSIST you purchase theirs...

          this is also the case for adsl - i rang telstra today and said "im going on holidays and i dont want to give the person housesitting my adsl account cause i know they will use over my limet - can we set up a seperate account for them just for the month - nope, minimum period is 3 months and you still have to pay the connection charges and buy the adsl router from us - i proceeded to explain that i had a router the person woud use and that the connection was already established because i was using it... no matter what i said they wanted to milk me for every cent) you see telstra DONT CARE

          I have an interest in satalite technoligy and have the required lmb's i told the guy from telstra - i also said i had the required dish for satalite, again i could only get it if i purchased everything from them

          further to being in remote australia some readers may find it intresting that "remote australians" are not looking for crazy subsidisation because we KNOW that should things be fairly priced elsewhere it wouldnt be such a big deal - a ISDN SPC can be relativly CHEEP if you want to run your own data on it between your own offices, its when you want to place internet trafic on it and connect your isdn to an isp that your charges grow so drasticly - living here in alice i expect to pay about 15% on top of the average sydney price but local ISP's are still charging 60$ a month for a 150meg download limet on a regular 336 modem account

          a big problem is that people WANT to listen to online music and communicate accross the world while working from home, this CAN NOT HAPPEN - and people dont want to JUST USE what TELSTRA have neet little arrangements for, its not the telstranet its the internet - the "free sites" thing is nice, but they are not that good and it really removes the idea of being on the internet - if your going to have free sites have *everything that doesnt go accross international carriers* and this is prety easy to see with tracert / traceroute folks

          i dont see the justification behind charging on a per use structure (telstra own the company they buy from), i have work collegues in england who get 100% free adsl, it came with their telehone...

          the way i see it is IMHO the legistators dont understand what they are legistating and so dont understand how to draft up the legistation to take effect properly - they are too old and cant grasp the ideas properly its obvious they want to acheive certain things, but they dont know how to acheive it so write sill blanket laws...

          telstra charge for LOCAL TRAFIC within their own network for crying out loud, how can this be alloud - technically they charge for person 1 to send data to peson 2 on the telstra network however person 2 on the network doesnt get charged for the data they get from person 1 (CRAZY!!!! - i cant even play games with my neighbours without being charged or running ethernet over the back fence)

          in the week straight after getting adsl i was portscanned constantly from all over the place - at first i was worried, but now i just filter it out, but i DO FEEL like im getting ripped paying for incomming trafic that i didnt ask for because someone on the internet took an intrest... i also "hear" that telstra include the PPOE encapuslation packet data in your 'data charge' so your 3gig is actually 20% less as the ppoe packet encapusliation is roughly 20% of the data... AND they "redefine" 3gig as 3000MB even though their own website's FAQ defines a bite as 1024 bits - i wonder if i should worrie about some redefination of MB at 1000 bytes thus actually reducing the 3gig limet even further

          but dont worrie telsta is not just rude when it comes to adsl - for instance you will be charged 3$ a month to NOT BE LISTED IN THE PHONEBOOK - now thats just crazy - a monthly ongoing charge for not wasteing paper.... is that legal??? perhaps i should finish here for risk of going OT or OTT
  • by samj ( 115984 )
    Now our government has managed to sell 1/2 of something we already own back to us it's time they hung onto what's left and split the services and infrastructure components in two. This would go a long way towards flattening an otherwise uneven playing ground and protecting our precious infrastructure from a seemingly insane services company. There is no excuse for the amount we're paying for broadband Internet (and we call ourselves the 'knowledge nation'... with internet censorship and the banning of online gambling [both of which cost arms and legs in implementation and lost revenue while having no tangible effect on either!] I tend to prefer 'global village idiot'). The fact we pay for the data itself rather than the size of the pipe, and at rates that have been virtually static for many many years is ridiculous.
    • Now our government has managed to sell 1/2 of something we already own back to us it's time they hung onto what's left and split the services and infrastructure components in two.

      right on - national infrastructure built and amortized by th citizens should never be corporatised

      selling government services on th other hand is ok - most ppl would have had little problem with th government keeping th infrastructure and selling off highly pforitable services such as th yellow pages

  • I really feel pretty lucky to live in norway where we get 640/384Kb ADSL (and of course no extra charge if you want to download 200GB a month) for 32 a month

    or 2048/640 for 82
  • My friend has a Telstra aDSL connection and he gets slow downloads (25-30k/s) compared to the normal download speed (45-50k/s) and not to mention shocking customer support from Telstra (most problems they say "I'm sorry I don't know the answer to that so I can't help you") and lets not forget the recent 3gb download cap.

    Oh and the hefty monthly price... you gotta love Australia!! -_-
  • It's business? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizman ( 116087 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @09:37AM (#2875819)
    It's simple business. A broadband ISP has to actually MAKE money off of their customers. Upstream bandwidth is extremely expensive, and the residential market has been proven to hog bandwidth with p2p download services. There's no profit to be made when a customer consistently uses their 768k dsl or cable pipe and pays $39/month (US) for it. Broadband ISP's have to rely on the idea that only a part of those resi customers will chug bandwidth, and the less demanding users will "buffer" the effect. But, the fact seems to be that broadband users are bandwidth hungry. Businesses pay more and use less, and are glad that they have a fast and reliable connection. Residential customers, in my "wireless isp operating" experience, complain that we charge $69.95/month for a 512k package, complain that they don't get a /29 with that, complain that they have to buy a bit of hardware, complain that for 5 minutes their mpg ping times went up slightly, and complain about anything possible. Business clients purchase the same package and are happy to have a reliable service and a knowledgeable staff behind it.

    It's no wonder broadband providers are either a) priced more than the competition, b) staying away from residential markets, or c) failing.
  • In Canberra, Australia's capital city, TransACT [] is rolling out fibre optic cable to all residential properties (not sure about apartments). The prices are about $29USD for 1Mbps/128kbps or $37 for 2Mbps/256kbps.

    The bad news is it is going to take a couple of years to roll it out throughout the city. And not all Australian cities are as lucky. But at least it is better than nothing.
  • Doesn't the little blurb explain itself?

    Why should a company lose money on a product offering? If they can't make money on cable at the current price simple business sense says they need to change the product somehow.

    Slashdot denizens seem to view cheap bandwidth as a god given right that these evil companies are interfering with, as opposed to the truth: It's a good/service you have to pay for (and the companies that provide it ALSO have to pay for)
  • southern cross cables which lighted their fiber a year ago? (it was /.d)

    i mean all of their gigabits (160x2 i believe) are gone to waste?
  • "Unlucky" Austrailians do have another choice: They can go without service. Be glad you at least have that choice. There are those of us whose only choice is dialup.
    • What a whining pathetic statement to make. So...using your logic..if your dialup charges were, say, a ridiculous $100USD per month, you would cease your whinging (or, as you suggest, go without service) if someone were to point out that they don't even have dialup?

      Take a tip...move out of the cave you obviously inhabit
      • You mistake what I said for complaining. Dialup is everything I need, not everything I want.

        If I could get DSL in my area and in my budget, I would. The same goes for dialup service. DSL and Cable are premium services, the demand is high and supply is low; I like getting more for less just as much as the next person, but that's just the way it is.

        It's just a bad time to be both a high speed internet provider and consumer.
  • The reason why, is you're all winging customers. I'm a shareholder - and when you're a shareholder, and you see they've raised the prices, you think "fantastic" as opposed to "crap".

    Of course, I don't use them for my broadband services.

    -- james
    • I don't care if you are a shareholder or not, Telstra has been screwing me in the ear for the past 6 years! I live in Carindale, Brisbane, where the average house is around $300,000, and I can't get cable or ADSL! I can get gay ass satellite. That's it. And it's absolutly crap too! When ADSL was about to come out, I was still complaining to Telstra, and they said that ADSL would be my alternative. Well, turns out Telstra had to screw me again by putting the whole area on a pair-gaining system. So I can't even get ADSL. Then tehy said that 2 way satellite would be my altrenative. Now that it's come out (late from what they told me), it's damn expensive, and all the plans suck!
      I have a mate that lives near me and he's been in the same position as me, but he finally complained enough and talked to the right person, and a guy came out, went the the green box out front, and presto, 4mins later, his phone line was off the pair-gaining system, and he could get ADSL. So why does Telstra refuse to do that for me? Perhaps it's because Telstra is shit. I'm glad I came back to Canada for a year! I can finally get some speed! Maybe since you are a shareholder, you should get some people together and make them do something. They don't listen to me, or the whole area I live in.

      Ugly Bob
  • DSL (Score:2, Interesting)

    So, if I told you guys that I was getting 1.5Mbps down and 640Kbps upstream with my Telus DSL up here in Canada for only $40CDN/month ($26US) and unlimited bandwidth, I can be sure you guys will wanna chase me down the street, beating me with a pickle fork and stabbing me with a baseball bat?

    God did not create the world in seven days; he screwed around for six
    days and then pulled an all-nighter.
  • At least they have broadband, I work for an ISP for crying out loud and can't get any because I live in a rural area. No DSL (Ameritech's fault) no cable (i'm 1000 feet away from the road so it's 'unprofitable' for AT&T Broadband to run a cable drop for me and my neighbor, and want $5000 to do it) and no wireless, but that's my best option if I can get a WiPOP closeby...too many hills to block my line-of-sight reception. I'd get satellite, but why spend all the money if I can't game on it? Pity them my ass, pity me I say.
  • Much the same in .de (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In .de, you're either in a big city, or you don't have much of a choice other than T-Online, which constantly increases prices, and aohell, which requires a proprietary client that isn't even available for any sane OS. And then the govt complains about a lack of IT professionals in the country... They're just all running away to places with sane net access!
  • My ISP (check elmegil at if you care which one) has raised rates twice in the last 6 months too. First time was a $2 "administrative fee" since I didn't trust them enough to pay them online, second time was the $5 Universal Service Fee, which I thought specifically didn't apply to ISP's. Upon complaint, of course, they say "the other ISP's are doing it!!" and "it was so sudden because we only just recently got our billing software to work right." Reviewing the contract I signed, sure enough, if it's a "tariff" or "fee" they can do whatever the hell they want.
    • Buy a T1 from someone. MCI was charging $1600 a month plus local loop charges when I was working for them, and the only thing in their AUP was that you weren't allowed to send spam (They did actually cut a couple of spammers off while I was there.)

      Speakeasy will sell you T1 service for significantly less but I don't know if they attach any terms to it. Their DSL service comes with a few restrictions which don't bother me (Don't run porn servers, mainly.) Check your local loop charges before buying though -- even at MCI it was not uncommon for a customer to be paying more in local loop charges than for the service itself.

      Depending on the cost of the line you choose and the number of neighbors willing to sling cat5 out the window to share your connection (and its cost) you could get it down to pretty reasonable, though probably still well over what AOL/Time Warner will charge per month. Reasonably good service starts at around $200 a month (YMMV) but not having to deal with clueless fucks at an ISP is worth it (The Speakeasy people appear not to be clueless fucks, which is one of the reasons I am willing to pay a premium for their services.)

      • Sorry, but I don't live at such a fine level as to be able to say "$150 a month extra is worth not having to deal with clueless fucks." That's $1800 a year I need for real life expenses.
  • optus is the only broadband alternative to telstra, but as I am finding out that are just as shit. I've had cable for 1 year, it cost $300 for installation then a one year contract at $75 a month. They suspend/terminate your account for running services. My account got suspended for "apparently" portscanning because some piece of shit paranoid adminstrator can't be confident about his own firewall out there emailed optus with a could be made up log file and said I portscanned him/her/it - so optus decided to suspend my account (no I didn't get hact). Optus also has nazi style bandwidth restrictions, all you get is an average that represents the entire users on the network's download, then if you go 10 times over that average your account gets terminated. Well, I'm still with optus only because telstra are cunts and I don't want to go back to 56k. If another competitor were to ever enter the australian market, and I doubt it for a while coz the cattle herding arseclown govt will most likely stop it, I'm gonna tell optus to shove there cable modem up there arse sideways. Btw, Australia's problem is that there are not enough ppl, 20 million - what kind of market is that, perhaps it's lucky with what it's got.
  • Do any Slashdot readers realize how expensive bandwidth really is? This is not uncommon and you will see broadband providers hiking their rates and reducing throughput. These companies are in business to make money, period. Running new fiber costs money. Maintaining a network costs money. Installations cost money. Bill collecting costs money. Everything costs money when you run a business. If a business expects to stick around they have to recoup their costs. They can't sell a T-1 for $79/month and expect to remain profitable let alone break even. You can oversell bandwidth to a point but that catches up over time. Granted a great deal of broadband users are using it for the convenience of no busy signals and an always on connection. It only takes a couple power downloaders(warez hounds) to monopolize service for the rest of the people who actually abide by the terms of service(read yours sometime.) Another thing to consider is providers will charge what the market will bear. This is true for any industry. The limits are here to stay. DSL users better get used to PPPoE and cable users might as well admit that getting 256k for $29.95/month isn't so bad.
  • Why we complain... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Monday January 21, 2002 @02:36PM (#2877279) Homepage
    I can't comment on the issues in Austrailia, but I believe I know why we complain about rates going up, service going down, etc. In so many words:

    We are spoiled.

    I can't remember exactly when real home-based "broadband" began to be rolled out here in America on a large scale basis, I think it was around 1996 or so - all that we had at that time was, at best, 56K modems - if you were lucky, and had a good clean line - most people had only 28.8-33.6, and thought it was great...

    But then the rollout began, and people loved it - then the .com boom also picked up steam. "Cheap bandwidth and "flashy" sites for all!" became the cry of the day. A lot of people upgraded from relatively flakey modems, to broadband - and quickly found that always-on broadband changed how they used their computers, and how it affected their lives. Online shopping grew, getting news off the net was better than the TV, sometimes even for local coverage, and finding movie times became that much easier.

    Broadband is fast and cheap - and that has become the meme of today. Now, most of us know that broadband is anything but cheap - try getting a T-1 to your house someday - hell, try to get ISDN (I remember a time between 56K modems and broadband where a lot of people were trying to get ISDN, and the articles being written up about the pain it was to do this)! But the everyday "joe" doesn't. He (and really, all of us) are spoiled by the speed and the price.

    It wasn't an incremental change (like from 9600 baud modems to 14.4 to 28.8, etc - a jump from 56kbps to 1.5mbps, and higher in some cases) - and now we are going to be forced to go back to something a little more reasonable - slower "broadband", if you want it to stay at a reasonable price.

    We need to realize something though - and this is something the cable companies and DSL providers don't want you to realize.

    First off, these businesses should tier the service - and allow the consumer to pick and choose what they want. Say, start off with an always-on 56kbps up/down line - allow the consumer to tier the up/down ratio depending on what they want to use the line for - browsing, serving, or a combo (and let the consumer run servers, or VPN, or whatnot - people WANT THIS, although most think of it as P2P). For those doing more serving than browsing, charge an amount on the bandwidth used on the upstream side after a flat amount (say 3 gig a month or something), let them use as much downstream bandwidth as they can (ok, up to a certain point, of course), but do something different if they uploading data. But allow the user to serve this data - just make them pay for it.

    This is similar in scope to a combo DSL and T-x service (and ISDN) work, on the billing side. DSL allows you (but not without a fine granualarity, from most providers) to change the tier of service depending on what you want to pay, and T-x/ISDN charges for bandwidth, etc used (also, they allow finer control on tiering).

    Let the consumer choose his bandwidth needs (like he chooses his telephone needs), and let him use the line how he chooses (within reasonable limits, but don't stop him from running servers, etc completely). If this were to happen, the sting of going from "unlimited" bandwidth to whatever would be much less, I believe, because the user would see what he is gaining.

    However, I don't believe this will ever occur, because the main broadband providers don't want the average joe to be able to serve content, as that would compete with their services (in whatever twisted sense they think of it).

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.