New low in Sydney Wi-Fi battle

Wireless broadband start-ups in Sydney look set to immediately challenge the major carriers following one wireless carrier's price drop.

BigAir Australia has revised its 1Mbps “Starter” plan to $29.95 per month. The service includes 500MB of downloads with eight cents charged per megabyte thereafter.

A setup fee of $99 also applies.

Not only is the BigAir service faster than most wireless and wired carriers, including Telstra and Optus, it also has a lower total cost. For example, Telstra and Optus' 256kbps ADSL services include 200MB of downloads. Telstra's monthly fee is $29.95 with $189 for setup, while Optus charges $49.95 a month and $329 for setup.

"Our service is symmetric, offering upload speeds at 1Mbps, making it suitable for more demanding applications such as video conferencing," BigAir managing director, Jason Ashton, said.

Like competitors iBurst and Unwired, BigAir has its own wireless network to provide its service. This means its pricing model is not hamstrung by Telstra's control of the national copper network, used by many wired ISPs.

While BigAir has undercut the heavyweights with a faster service, the wireless broadband carriers only operate in Sydney. BigAir's network coverage at present is limited to the Eastern suburbs.

The wireless carriers have yet to announce services in other cities.

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