A new wholesale DSL product from network provider Comindico that promises ISPs access to unlimited bandwidth capacity has resulted in a throng of unlimited ADSL broadband service offerings being launched across the country.
Comindico officially released its inaugural wholesale DSL product to customers and partners in a roadshow last week. The new bundled Residential DSL product offers “last mile” access, otherwise called the DSL tail, to residential and business locations throughout Australia using a variety of providers.
It is accompanied by data transfer capacity across Comindico’s national carrier-grade IP network.
Residential Asynchronous DSL (ADSL) services are available at speeds of either 256Kbps/64Kbps, 512Kbps/128Kbps or 1.5Mbps/256Kbps. The company’s Business DSL product is available as either an ADSL service with speeds up to 6Mbps/640Kbps, or as a symmetric DSL (SHDSL) service offering up to 2Mbps speeds.
The DSL product also gives ISPs unlimited download capacity with low contention rates using Comindico’s IP network. This consists of 66 points of presence (PoPs) across Australia.
The network is based on Cisco equipment and backed by service level agreements.
Comindico CEO, John Stuckey, said the new DSL product was representative of the company’s commitment to accelerating Australia’s broadband technology growth.
With the latest figures from the ACCC showing a decline in growth rates for all types of broadband, something had to be done to accelerate take-up and take the “fuzz out of the network”, he said.
Stuckey said the initiative that drove mass take-up of the Internet was the opening up of competition to Telstra and the promise of unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee. Unfortunately, the lack of affordable interconnect rates to the last mile had prevented ISPs from entering the broadband market and offering such a service.
“Telstra have packaged their wholesale DSL product so there is so little opportunity for retail profit for service providers," he said. "ISPs face being slowly driven out of business as Telstra absorbs their customer base by offering special bundled packages no other ISP could match.”
Comindico’s new DSL product wouldaddress both of these issues by giving ISPs the chance to offer an alternative retail product - with no download limits - for a competitive price, he said.
Stuckey said Comindico wasDSL “agnostic”, establishing relationships with Telstra, XYZed (Optus) and RequestDSL to gain last mile access. The company was also negotiating a deal with wholesale broadband provider Nextep for access to its network.
All international traffic for the Comindico network was serviced by the Southern Cross network. The company could access capacity of up to 1.2Gbps.
The popularity of unlimited broadband access within a bundled wholesale package is already apparent.
More than 30 people have signed up to the DSL product, many of whom had not entered the DSL market before, Stuckey said. About 75 per cent of these people were located in regional areas of Australia.
While hesitant to make an estimate on future customer sign-ups, Stuckey said the company expected to see “tens of thousands” of users using its network in the coming months.
One Comindico client had vowed to have 15,000 users under the DSL package within six months, he said.
New customers come on board
One of the first ISPs to market an ADSL service based on Comindico’s new DSL offer is Unlimited DSL. The Australian start-up, that launched its first ADSL offering nationally on March 25, promises customers unlimited downloads for a single monthly fee without shaping policies or restrictions.
Unlimited DSL general manager Simon Woodward said the product available from Comindico was too hard to “step past”.
“We could have launched our service in a couple of ways,” he said. “We could have gotten the DSL tails through Telstra, then provided our own data by implementing a network ourselves. That is what we were looking at until Comindico released this product.”
Instead, Comindico now provided Unlimited DSL with both DSL last mile access to Telstra’s copper pairs, as well as managed the ISP’s bandwidth requirements, Woodward said.
Woodward said Comindico’s relatively late entry into the wholesale DSL market had allowed the company to offer ISPs a reliable package at a cheaper price point.
Unlimited DSL’s plans start from $69 per month on a 256Kbps/64Kbps service. Plans based on 512Kbps and 1500Kbps download connection speeds are also available.
Other independent ISPs and existing dial-up ISPs such as Dodo Internet and OzForces have also snatched up Comindico’s DSL product, challenging the limited download policies previously enforced by Australia’s top tier ISPs.
Dodo Internet is expected to launch its inaugural ADSL service shortly.
OzForces, which calls itself a gamer’s ISP, launched its new Comindico-based ADSL service with unlimited downloads for a set monthly fee in late March.
OzForces general manager, Chris Meder said OzForces had worked closely with Comindico since August last year to bring its wholesale DSL product to market.
Stuckey said a new unnamed ISP which planned to offer unlimited download for a previously unheard of $65 flat fee per month would also launch services across Australia in the next week.