Telstra's ADSL2+ finally arrives, access limited

Telstra has finally switched on ADSL2+ broadband but only in locations where competitors offer the same service

On the tenth anniversary of BigPond's launch, Telstra has finally flicked the switch for uncapped high speed ADSL and ADSL2+ broadband services. However, its new 24Mbps capable ADSL2+ will only be sold in locations where competitors already offer the same service.

The availability comes some 18 months after its competitors, including iiNet and Internode, have been offering ADSL2+ speeds. Until now, Telstra's fastest DSL offering has been capped at 1.5Mbps.

Telstra's new uncapped ADSL plans can reach speeds of 8Mbps and will cover 2,400 exchanges and 91 per cent of the population. Its limited ADSL2+ offering will allow download speeds of up to 20Mbps, just shy of this technology's 24Mbps capacity.

In an ASX statement, BigPond group managing director, Justin Milne, said the decision to limit exchanges to locations where competitors also offer ADSL2+ was due to "regulatory constraints".

"Cleary, this is a very defensive move by Telstra and not at all an offensive one," said Ovum research director, David Kennedy. "It's consistent with that fact that they are not looking for a fight from their ADSL2+ competitors because they are not undercutting their prices."

Kennedy said Telstra's avoidance of a price war was a wise move on its part and believed the telco would instead look to achieve growth by consolidating services through BigPond's range of deliverable content and its marketing clout.

Telstra's high speed 20,000/1000kbps 60GB plan is priced at $149.95 per month. In comparison, Internode offers its high speed 24000/1000kbps 80 GB shaped plan for $119.95 per month.

"Today it does look like Telstra has finally, (six years late) and lurchingly, blinked," said Internode's Simon Hackett in a posting on the Whirpool forums. "I am sure that (one way or another) our customers will gain access to higher speeds nationally as a result of this, and I'm very much looking forward to being able to offer the entire Australian ADSL population the ability to see just how fast the Internode national and international backbone is, by removing that ridiculous 1500/256 bottleneck from their lives at last."

Ovum's Kennedy said that despite having the technical capability since last year to offer ADSL2+ services, Telstra had delayed availability while it sought clarification from the ACCC that it would not have to provide competitors with access to its ADSL2+ infrastructure.

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