If you really want to raise the ire of an Australian broadband user, the magic letters "A-D-S-L" will do just fine. Originally designed to provide widespread broadband to even small country towns, ADSL has become somewhat of an embarrassment for Telstra. The service became widespread during the second half of 2000, with major cities being serviced first. Because many landlords will not permit cable connections to unit blocks, ADSL is the only form of broadband that many people in Australia can get.
The rollout of ADSL was slow and always behind schedule. Applications for an ADSL service were often greeted by pushy sales staff (believe me - I enquired about it). One major difference is that the exchanges were allowed to be used by other ISPs to offer ADSL. But this was a contentious issue, Telstra were charging their wholesale customers more than their retail ones! For instance, early in 2001 Telstra was offering 512Kbps/128Kbps ADSL, with no download limit for less than it cost a wholesale partner to buy 1GB of data!
It took a complaint to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and several complaints to the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) before more realistic wholesale pricing was achieved. But by this time, the 3GB cap was in place for the majority of Telstra's retail users. The introduction of the 3GB cap was at the same time as it appeared on the cable network, so for the purposes of this article many changes appeared at the same time for both ADSL and cable.
When the 3GB cap started making itself known to Telstra's broadband customers, ADSL was just as bad as cable. The same fury erupted, for the same reasons. When the new pricing structure was announced, the howls of discontent increased, with good reason. Here are Telstra's ADSL prices, before and after the announcement:
"Preselection" is when you choose Telstra for your local and long-distance calls. This nets you a saving on your ADSL connection, but at the cost of dearer local and long-distance calls.
The only winners here are those who choose the 300MB Residential plan. Not only does the monthly charge go down, but an extra 50MB of downloads is thrown in. But users on all other plans are either worse off or not affected. Unlike the cable network, there are still speed caps in place. In many American places, when the provider sells 512Kbps/128Kbps ADSL, that is the minimum guaranteed data rate. In Australia, this is the "maximum possible" data rate.
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