Telstra Announces DSL Pricing

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Telstra’s ADSL broadband Internet access pricing will start from $78 per month, the telco announced today. The cheaper prices will be made available to Telstra long distance voice customers, and a range of speeds will be offered for both residential and business customers.

The $78 unlimited download starting point will give residential users a download speed of 256kbps, with an upload speed of 64kbps. Customers who haven’t pre-selected Telstra for voice services will pay $94.50 for the entry rate.

Residential users will also be offered a 512 downstream, 128 kbps upstream service for either $89 or $105.50, depending on their telephony provider allegiance.

Other plans with limited download quotas will be available for both business and residential customers. The top speed is 1.5Mbps upload, 256k download, with a 500 Mb download limit, beyond which users pay 18.9 cents per megabyte. The “full throttle” speed is available for $116 or $132.50.

Installation includes a DSL modem, and ranges between $189 and $399, depending on the length of contract.

ADSL Internet services will become available from “some time towards the end of August,” in metropolitan and some regional areas. Customers can check if ADSL will be available in their area at the company’s Web site, and can place orders beginning on Tuesday.

Telstra said the significant interconnection costs between Australia and the U.S. accounted for a large part of the cost of broadband Internet access. Comparing Telstra’s prices to those of overseas providers, Telstra’s ADSL project director, Denis Mullane said the company was “probably slightly above” other costing regimes for the 256k scheme and “sort of in the pack” for higher speed access.

Mullane refused to disclose the margin its wholesale customers would make offering similarly priced DSL services, saying “Telstra doesn’t talk about our wholesale prices publicly anyhow.” He said other service providers would have the opportunity to “change the financial equation” by offering voice services. Telstra will charge the same prices for DSL access in metropolitan and regional areas. Mullane said there shouldn’t be a difference in installation time in regional areas, which he estimated at 10 days.

Telstra plans to offer ADSL products in nearly 1,300 exchanges and reach about 90 percent of Australian homes and businesses by mid 2002. The service is provided over the copper telephone network, allowing customers to use a single line for both Internet and telephony services.

At a customer site, an ADSL modem is required, which connects users to a CMUX or DSLAM at the Telstra exchange. An IP aggregator then brings the traffic to the service provider’s backbone. Mullane offered, “IP is one of these sort of jargon things they use in the Internet world.”

While Telstra and its wholesale customers will be offering ADSL services as of the end of the month, competitors hoping to roll out their own DSL networks won’t have access to Telstra exchanges until later this quarter.

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