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Australia Gets 8Mbit/s Broadband now, 20Mbit Soon 407

danwarne writes "Whirlpool is reporting the 'bad old days' of slow, expensive broadband in Australia might be over, with the large ISP iiNet unveiling broadband internet up to 8Mbit/s, from $29/mth. It has been installing its own DSLAMs into the exchanges of Australia's incumbent telco, Telstra, which limits internet access speeds to a maximum of 1.5MBit/s. iiNet boss Michael Malone says as soon as the ADSL2+ standard is approved for use in Australia (which should be in a month or two), he intends to switch the DSLAMs over to offering 20Mbit/s speeds. It looks like Telstra and Optus, the two incumbent telcos in Australia might have their duopoly on high speed broadband (10Mbit/s cable internet) challenged, with potentially great ramifications for price competition in Australia. The only downside noted by Whirlpool readers is that iiNet is forcing customers to take their long distance phone service as well to get access to the 8Mbit/s speeds, a move which is ironically reminiscent of the tactics used by Telstra and Optus."
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Australia Gets 8Mbit/s Broadband now, 20Mbit Soon

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  • capped to 5GB/month (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZeekWatson ( 188017 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:40AM (#11548269)
    Too bad the caps are suitable for a 56k line though. :(
    • 5GB/month speed is about equal to 16kbit/sec speed.
      Wow thats slow.
    • Mod parent up.

      I'm with iiNet on one of their old 256/128 plans. I get 12 Gig peak, 12 Gig off peak for A$49.95 a month. That same price gets 1 Gig peak, 1 Gig off peak. I think I'll wait for the quotas to move to something sensible before I switch.

  • by Exter-C ( 310390 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:40AM (#11548270) Homepage
    That might sound fine but in reality there is not enough bandwidth in the IINET network to handle even 100 of these connections at full speed let alone having thousands of users. The price per port for the IP ports (Oc12 or whatever) is still way to expensive to be able to cover the costs in any sort of reasonable time frame.

    • by ender81b ( 520454 ) <<moc.aksarbeni> <ta> <dllib>> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @04:01AM (#11548596) Homepage Journal
      Hate to break it to you but that's how most ISP's work. Very, very, very rarely do you have more than 5% of your theoretical max bandwith available. IE if you have 1000 DSL customers all at 1.5/384 you can easily get away with having a single DS-3. Very few people (even geeks) use their connections at max bandwith for more than a few minutes a day.

      Part of this of course (it's not like ISP's don't want more bandwidth) is the enormous costs of DS-3/OC-3 etc lines. While a 1.5/384 or 8/1megabit, etc line might run the customer $40 a month a single DS-3 in my neck of the woods (even if you are on the fiber loop and they don't have to charge you per mile runs) will easily run > $8,000 dollars a month depending on your service agreements, etc.

      • Which is why I'm suprised no provider in the US has realised that they could provide better service and get free advertising by allowing unmetered transfer between its own customers.
        I use roadrunner in austin, If I wanted to send a file to someone else in austin, it goes at my normal upstream cap of 50kB/s. If I could get a good 500Kb/s or so, they arnt really hurting (The line to my house is easily capable of it, and if it never leaves roadrunners edge, they arn't paying for it..). And then the free adver

        • I think the problem is that the system you described is it would be hard to implement. Currently, for both Cable and DSL, the circuits are provisioned at a set speed - at the DSLAM (for DSL) and at the Cable Modem for Cable. For your system to work you'd have to allow whatever provisioning you'd want at the DSLAM or Cable modem (whatever, 10mbps/6 mbps) and then run QoS controls on a router to traffic shape everything else. This would cost more - you'd have to invest in some beefier routers - and be harder
  • by Aurix ( 610383 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:40AM (#11548271)
    I just wish there'd be more of a focus on extending ADSL coverage across Australia. I mean seriously, how much longer must we be on prehistoric RIMs and the like?
  • You bastards! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by winterdrake ( 823887 )
    Now why can't they have that available in the states...
    • Re:You bastards! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by longbot ( 789962 )
      I've noticed that in the US, the speeds are generally lower, but we're fortunate not to have monthly transfer caps. In other countries, they usually have faster speeds, but anywhere from 2-40GB per month (typically "hard" - as in "shut you down") caps.
      • The only ISPs here in Sweden that I've heard of that have/had download caps were Chello (and I haven't heard anything about them in years) and some ISP up north that have a monthly cap for data downloaded from outside their network (but otoh they offer 10/100Mbps and there are DC hubs run by people on their network that are only for those using the same ISP, so zoom zoom zoom there...)


  • by halo1982 ( 679554 ) * on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:43AM (#11548285) Homepage Journal
    Time Warner just switched us over to 5.0Mb/384Kb and I thought that was great. For $43US a month. Bah! Lucky Australians. When we do get ADSL2+ over here we'll be at the mercy of SBC for $40+ a month.
    • Time Warner just switched us over to 5.0Mb/384Kb and I thought that was great.

      How often do you actually download something at 5.0Mb/s? There are only a handful of servers in the world that would let a public internet connection download at that speed...

    • Where in the U.S. do you live? I'm on Road Runner in NYC, and I haven't seen an increase in my speed... then again, I leech off one of the thirty wireless networks in range of my apartment. So who knows.

    • Hey at least SBC will likely let you use the full 6TB/month that you could pull with 20mbit, right?

    • Re:Not so lucky (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvilCabbage ( 589836 )
      This isn't even newsworthy yet.

      It's available to such a small slice of the population with such small data allowances, only the truly stoned and miraculously wealthy will be in line for it.

      Picture a pair of cans connected by a string hanging over a cesspool. That is the current Australian "Broadband" situation.
    • by psy ( 88244 )
      Actually its not so lucky.

      99.9% of australian broadband adsl servers provide download caps. Normally this is between 5gig to 15/20gig and is split into peak/off peak hours. Once that is passed there will be an extra charge or the service will be slowed down to 32-64kb/s depending on the provider.

      Also on the story in order to get that you need to bundle with their phone service too ($29.95 per month AU), and you need to be on their DSLAM. Otherwise you are limited to 1.5Mb.

      Alot of users are complaining ab
    • My brother works for a large ISP in Aus and is connected to the backbone of the internet at work. He has gotten over half a gigabyte per second on bit torrent.
    • Its not that good, basically its only available in capital cities, and even then its limited. Furthermore they have obscenely small caps and the going rate for over use charges is 10 cents a meg. This can really really add up.
  • I never fully understood this; the hardware is designed for XMB up and down, why do they criple the uplink bandwidth? Is this simply to convince the weak willed people to buy their colocated server space, or to upgrade to a "buisness" grade account?
    • It's to discourage trading of warez
      • Re:only 256k up? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hadlock ( 143607 )
        Do you have any "tech" to back that up? I certianly haven't found any. It's not like the MPAA or RIAA would have any legal grounds for suing them for the files going across their network. Initially warez was a problem, with the limited bandwidth of broadband "back in the day". With 8/20Mbit networks, you could trade everything you have and fill your entire hard drive in a couple of weeks and not really strain the network, as most files should finish not long after you click on them.
    • Re:only 256k up? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SlightOverdose ( 689181 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @04:14AM (#11548632)
      Much to learn, you have.

      Let me tell you about telstra.

      When I had my internet connection moved from another ISP to iiNet, they had to plug me into the iinet DSlam. Normally this would be a simple thing to do- just move the cable to the next rack and plug me back in.

      Telstra, however, turns this into:
      1: request disconnection
      2. after a few days, tech goes out and unplugs me
      3. Telstra sends a bill
      4. Pay bill
      5. request connection
      6. after a few days, tech goes out and plugs me in
      7. Pay bill
      8. Line doesn't work. Turns out telstra fucked up
      9. request telstra to fix it
      10. wait a few days, tech goes out and fixes it
      11. Telstra sends a bill
      12. pay bill

      well, you get the point.

    • The maximum down/up on the Telstra wholesale network is 1536/256k. No exceptions. Want more upload speed? Pay for 512/512, which is actually 1536 downstream shaped down at the Telstra network level. Of course - you still have to qualify for a 1536/256k service. If you don't: Too bad. Your line may be capable of a "OMFG IT ISN'T BROADBAND" 256/64 or 512/128 service, but Telstra doesn't care.

      However, in Areas where iiNet have installed their own DSLAM's, the upload speed is unlocked, i.e it will go right up
  • Even if I had 20M... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meridian ( 16189 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @02:50AM (#11548322) Homepage
    Most times I connect to overseas, and the latency/window size is the biggest speed issue. Even sitting on a 100Mb/s pipe to MCI at work you rarely see speeds above 2Mb/s to any site overseas especially if using TCP not UDP due to the latency issues and the nature of TCP windowing. OK so it might be fast to connect to other people on IInet, but thats the only bonus. Currently I have 6Mb/s ADSL to home in Australia (only one on my ISP with it from what I understand) and while I reach breakneck speeds to on the Optus network to whom my ISP's primary provider is, I rarely see anything above 512kb/s to overseas sites. Going to just get unlimited 512k to the ISP I work for. No point getting any higher in Australia if your connecting to international stuff most of the time. And no its not because my ISPs are shit its just how it is being on the other side of the world. Fast to Singapore tho!
    • You just need to tweak your TCP/IP stack. For a 10MB/s transfer over 300ms latency you need a 3MB TCP buffer (window). Most operating systems don't allow the buffer to grow that large.
    • You do realise you can connect to multiple sites at once? I get around 760k/s max out of my DSL now. I tend to go to and download 3 or 4 creative commons movies down at once - each appears rate limited (by at 130k/s - but all 4 come down at the same(ish) speed. Mind you, one or two International sites have given me 400-500k/s - just not often. But I like to be able to download whilst not affecting my VPN or other things.
  • I am 20K ft. I would like to see phone companies reach out more to people like me. :(
  • Has anyone seen the TV commercials airing in the US where they claim that US Broadband penetration is suck because of government regulation?

    I reflexively call bullshit and assume they just want to kill the CLEC's and are holding broadband hostage for it, but maybe someone here can verify or refute this.
  • RTFM (Score:5, Informative)

    by pbjones ( 315127 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:06AM (#11548409)
    8Mb is max based on distance, it drops to almost current ADSL speeds after a km or so. It has the same 4km reach as current ADSL, so for many people there is only a marginal speed gain, yawn, which still makes cable faster in most cases. Also at the mubpond was announced that Telstra was looking at equipment that will extend the reach of ADSL, potentialy to 12kms or more, and make ADSL viable in small towns etc.
  • yeah, (Score:3, Funny)

    by MoOsEb0y ( 2177 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:07AM (#11548412)
    and use up your bandwidth limit for the month within 10 minutes of using the thing at full speed.
  • by Meetch ( 756616 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:28AM (#11548474)
    Being such a geographically sparse country, investment in infrastructure generally involves a lot more up-front cost than say, Sweden (most European countries come to think of it), per person. Think about it - driving approximately around the mainland coast would take about 10 days at a guess if you were pushing it, and there's only around 20 million people on it. That's a lot of man hours, cables and equipment to install. So don't expect cheap all-you-can-eat access in Australia yet.

    There are various plans at various rates - one provider offers 512/128 for $70/month with no restrictions, not sure about the cost for higher peaks. I wouldn't look for any vast improvement over this sort of capped plan for at least another 5 years, and that's only assuming the standards don't improve the peak speed even further.

    iiNet have spent $10M on installations, and only have customers numbering in the tens of thousands of dollars. They obviously can't give the service away, but the rates are still reasonable especially compared with the telco offerings. As I understand it, there are still per Mb costs from at least some of our international trunk providers too. Anyone who can refute that, or that has details?

    • It's a little bit like the United States [] here. You can provide for the areas along the coasts where most Australians live, but attempting to expand beyond that means providing more and more infrastructure for not nearly as many people, and therefore much less return on investment.

      Having said that, iiNet's new plans still don't beat cable. I'm paying $60/month for "unlimited" (possible traffic shaping after 10Gb--last month I transferred 30Gb without it) data transfer, unlimited downstream (I've gotten up

    • Not quite true; Australia is one of the most urbanized 1st world countries.
      >95% of the population live in the major cities.

      Which is also why they are offering wireless internet ( , )

    • The only problem with your low density keeping the price up theory is that where Australia is populated, it happens to be at the sweet spot for density for telcom rollout. Sydney and Melbourne both now have more people that Chicago and both cities have a much higher density than most US cities.

      The problem with expensive stuff in Australia is a result of anti-competitive upstream providers and paperwork that is just nasty.
      • Sweet spot? In Sydney and Melbourne, almost certainly. Perth however is 1.2 million or so people spread out over a couple of hundred square kilometres - and that's where iiNet was born. Adelaide's density wouldn't be much higher. Canberra, while designed well from conception is as a result mostly suburban for housing. And that's leaving out a few... submarine trunk to Tasmania anyone?

        I believe many Australians are still dreaming of 180+ square metre homes on quarter acre blocks, and even if they don'

  • by a.koepke ( 688359 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:28AM (#11548478)
    I have just changed to the new plans and am getting about 7mbit connection. Loving the high speeds and the ability to download heaps and still surf the net without noticing.

    There is also an error in the above summary
    The only downside noted by Whirlpool readers is that iiNet is forcing customers to take their long distance phone service as well to get access to the 8Mbit/s speeds

    iiNet are not forcing you to take their long distance phone service, you need to sign up with their complete phone service, not just long distance. My local calls and line rental charges are all through iiNet now, not just long distance.
    • ?

      I don't see any .au ISP supporting unlimited 8mbps let alone 20.

      • I don't see any .au ISP supporting unlimited 8mbps let alone 20.

        They don't offer unlimited, I have a 10GB limit.

        By saying "download heaps" I mean have say iiNet's internet radio service running and downloading a few files at high speed while browsing.

        Their heavy plan has 80GB limit which would be enough for most people I would imagine and still is a good price.
        • Thanks - yeah 80Gb IS plenty in my opinion. And I am a heavy user. I pull a lot of content from I'm hoping someone puts together an 80Gb plan here in .nz when 2mbps becomes available in March.
  • Banned from IINET (Score:4, Interesting)

    by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:30AM (#11548491)
    I was banned from iinet (WA) in 2000 - back when they were 'small time' - the reason: I asked them (politely) not to send me their monthly 'spam' advertising filled with added services and features they were offering. They responded that I was the 'only' one across the entire country that had a problem with this, and that I should just put up with it. Use the delete button.

    I asked them once more not to send junk mail else I would go to the ombudsman. They did, so I fired off email to the ombudsman, got a few telephone calls from Perth, then Canberra, then Sydney - their spam STOPPED.

    So did my account. I was suspended. After a telephone call I was told that I would never be able to connect with them again - I was a problem client apparantly. I was sent overseas so I never had the opportunity to make lots of money from it all.

    Their service is actually quite good though! Or at least it was for me. Connected with iinet in Geraldton Western Australia. Never had any trouble other than that.
    • Probably bad form to reply to myself, a similar thing happened with 'WestNet' - wasn't banned though, just told I was annoying for the extra workload their admins had to do in resolving the problem. (I don't like junk mail)

      I think they merged with iinet pretty soon after that.
  • Require LD? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:33AM (#11548497)
    The only downside noted by Whirlpool readers is that iiNet is forcing customers to take their long distance phone service as well to get access to the 8Mbit/s speeds

    I live in the USA. For an 8Mbit/s line, I would not only gladly accept having to use their LD, I would also turn over my liver and owe them some unspecified favor involving dead bodies.
  • My ISP says he's offering 20 Mbps, but he's cheating with the difference between ATM and IP bandwidth, so it really isn't serving anyone more than 16 Mbps. Think about that...

    I'd like to start a poll (I hope there isn't some good-manners-principle here on /. that will get me flamed for having started a poll)... so I propose to compare our bandwidth, based on ISP and location. I'm really curious to see what high bandwidth japanese readers can get...

    Please tell your *actual* bandwidth, in Mbps (megabits per
  • I'll believe it when I'm using it. "As fast as your line can go" can mean many things, and in my opinion this may last as long as TPG's unlimited 1.5mbit conns.

    However press like this can only be good, even if it is a bit shifty.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    too bad all the cool stuff is on the other side of the big pond, and australia is connected to it over an ISDN line.

  • Situation in France (Score:2, Informative)

    by Seb C. ( 5555 )
    In case anyone wonder, and since we did not have a slashdot article to promote this (but i don't care anyway), the frenchies can get an ADSL2+ (20Mb/s max), unlimited phone calls (mobile call for .19 cents () a minute -charged by second from the 1st second-) and TV through ADSL (when your close enough of the DSLAM) for 30 a month.
    Sure, the country is not as wide as Australia (people are more concentrated), and only half the population is covered (others can get a 512k. the providers should yet reach 80% of
  • Once again overlooked! We all need upload after getting bored of p2p!

    256k is useless to me. I don't even need 2mbit download.

    What would be perfect would be a cheaper connection at say,

    - maybe half the price
    - maybe even only 256down
    - but 1mbit up
    • I always thought that any one connection required a minimum upload speed to be able to ack enough packets to reach its full speed. Anyone know what upload is required to reach 8mbit?
  • I was until recently a french citizen and basically left the country when they started to put 8Mb DSL everywhere (they are now deploying ADSL2+ which goes up to 20Mbs).

    So I am now in Switzerland. Beautiful country. However, the bandwith situation is pretty bad: 786kbs up / 128kbs down dsl for a monthly cost of 32 euros (US$42).

    Basically it seems that the historic operator (Swisscom) controls the lines and there is no competition. The situation was the same 4 years ago in France, until under the pressur
  • .. but I'm addicted to the speed already. I switched over last night from a 1.5mbps plan last night, and as my exchange has had iiDSLAMS in it for a while, I'm able to get some _real_ broadband speeds now. I can't quite believe how fast it is.
    iiNet should be congratulated for dragging the rest of Australia's Telco industry kicking and screaming into the modern day of broadband.
  • by __aailob1448 ( 541069 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @06:26AM (#11549125) Journal
    Does this mean that our aussie friends won't be able to complain anymore?

    No more "you americans whine about your crappy broadband but here in australia, we won't get internet for another 30 years" ?

    Thank god.
  • Sure, I'll sign, can anyone spell VOIP? ... ...

    You have a 10mbit connection, sue you can sign up for thier long distance, and then make all you own VOIP calls. Heck use Skype. The real problem is many companies are geared up to make money off providing packet switched network telephony, but every man and his dog can easily use free voice (voice to landline is like 2 cents a minute intl. over Internet)

    That is like saying, we will give you this hydrogen car for free, but you must buy your petrol from us (th
  • well, for the same price in Italy you'd get a 640!

    (to say in a low voice: 640.. KB/sec... damn...)

    will work for bandwidth. (c)
  • I'm on an iinet, 256kbps down and 64kbps up plan. I get, 12G peak and 12G off peak downloads which it is caped at. Once peak or offpeak download limit/cap is breached, downloads are slowed to 72kbps, for that zone (peak or offpeak) expect for downloads that are from the PIPE Networks [] servers or iinet servers or other ISP related to iinet in some way.

    I pay 40 dollars for this plan. Yes, i have iiphone packaged with it which means i get $10 dollars off the original price of $50.

    For a similar price, this is

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor