Optus announces DSL pricing, rounds out broadband offering

Optus announces DSL pricing, rounds out broadband offering

Optus's foray into the residential home broadband market is looking a lot more complete.

On Tuesday, the company announced the pricing and plans for the OptusNet DSL service which is scheduled to commence in February.

Until now the company's broadband cable service, OptusNet Cable, has limited the company to subscribers in metropolitan houses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. This has meant residents of units and town houses in these cities, referred to by Optus as MDUs (multi-dwelling units), were left out of its cable service.

"[Residents of] MDUs have been frustrated over the years," said Martin Dalgleish, MD for Optus's consumer and multimedia division.

Under the OptusNet DSL package, persons living in all types of dwellings, and across the country (NSW, VIC, ACT, QLD, SA and WA), can access the service.

OptusNet Cable currently has 133,000 subscribers. "The DSL service will increase our footprint by threefold," Dalgleish said.

Optus is using Telstra's Layer 2 wholesale DSL service for its ADSL broadband product. The main benefit of Telstra's service is the number of exchanges it has enabled – over 1000 installed across the country.

"Telstra has ubiquity of reach," said Dalgleish.

A bonus for Optus is the technology introduced last week by Telstra which sees it extend the distance of DSL signals from exchanges on its wholesale network. Now a DSL signal is capable of reaching a dwelling 4km away from an ADSL-enabled exchange, up from a previous limit of 3.5km. This means more subscribers can be hooked to a single exchange.

OptusNet DSL comes with four different plans – all based on 12 months. The minimum download speed is 512Kbps on all plans, while the upload speed is limited to 128Kbps. Customers will pay less if they bundle the broadband service with Optus's fixed line telephony products.

Customers on all plans will face no extra financial penalty for exceeding their download limits. Instead, speed throttling will apply. The maximum download speed after speed throttling is applied is 28.8Kbps.

The entry level product is the DSL Starter 300MB plan which is priced at $49.95 a month with bundle, or $69.95 for stand-alone customers. Other plans are DSL Lite 1GB for $59.95 ($79.95), DSL Unlimited 12GB for $79.95 ($99.95) and DSL Unlimited Pro 20GB for $129.95 ($159.95).

The difference between the Unlimited and Unlimited Pro products is the instance when speed throttling is applied -- after 12GB is reached in the month on the Unlimited plan and after 20GB on the Unlimited Pro plan.

Installation fees vary markedly. For those with a telephony bundle, installations, which includes the modem, costs $149. Non-bundled customers will pay $329.

The OptusNet DSL service is still in a trial phase. However, Dalgleish said despite being a month away from entering the market, the company has had in excess of 10,000 expressions of interest from subscribers. "So we think there is a pent-up demand for our entry," he said.

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