Optus silent on cable speed boost

No word on whether Optus will match Telstra's 30Mbps download speed

Optus is now 'considering its upgrade options' after Telstra unveiled its new 30Mbps cable service Telstra unveiled in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday.

Currently, Optus offers cable broadband downloads of only 9.9Mbps to its 365,000 customers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

"In regards to any changes on the Optus Cable network we are considering our upgrade options," according to an Optus spokesperson.

"We are not releasing any details at this stage," the spokesperson said.

Following the upgrade, Telstra's cable network now has a maximum of 30Mbps, up from the previous 17Mbps limit. Users who were on the 17Mbps plan will be upgraded for free. The previous upload speed of 256Kbps has also been upgraded to 1Mbps.

Telstra prices feature download limits from $39.95 for 200MB, $49.95 for 400MB, through to 60GB for $129.95. Additional usage is charged at $0.15 per Mb.

Optus is continuing to push its 'Fusion' plans, which allows customers to combine their home phone, broadband and line rental in one monthly fee.

"Optus Fusion is available on our Optus' cable network and is proving to be popular with customers," the Optus spokesperson said.

They start from limits of 200MB for $34.99, 1GB for $49.99, through to 30GB for $109.99. However, Optus now counts uploads as well as downloads in its new Fusion plans.

Telstra claims the new upgrade will reach 1.85 million premises in both Sydney and Melbourne, with no plans to expand the 30Mbps service in either Brisbane or Adelaide.

Currently Optus offers its cable service to 2.5 million premises in metropolitan areas, with no word of expanding this in the near future.

This follows the recent announcement of a $1 billion dollar grant from the Federal Government to the Optus-led OPEL consortium to provide broadband services to regional areas. This grant is scheduled to deliver high-speed broadband to 99 per cent of Australian households and businesses at prices comparable to those paid in large cities.

Meanwhile, Telstra is taking legal action against Communications Minister Helen Coonan, for alleged procedural unfairness in the bidding process of the broadband grant in the Federal Court.

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Ash Lawrenz

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