Comindico ditches unlimited ADSL wholesale policy

Wholesale broadband provider, Comindico, has dumped its unlimited ADSL policy, introducing download usage caps across its DSL network.

But although the decision may upset some heavy broadband end-users, ISPs providing services across the Comindico DSL network say the new download restrictions are both generous and fair.

Under its newly-revised Fair Use Policy (FUP), Comindico will be able to throttle the end-user’s connection speed down to a maximum of 64Kbps once they have reached a pre-determined acceptable download usage limit.

For example, users on a 256/64Kbps plan will have their download speed reduced after downloading 20GB worth of data in a month. Users on a 512/128Kbps plan will have their speed reduced after 30GB of downloads, while high-end 1536/256Kbps users will have connection speeds throttled after downloading more than 50GB in any given month.

The changes come into effect from June 1.

Commenting on the new FUP to the broadband forum site Whirlpool, Comindico managing director, John Stuckey, said the introduction of download caps across its DSL wholesale network was provoked by about five per cent of users who were significantly degrading network performance speeds for other users. Comindico currently has more than 15,000 end-users on its DSL network.

A statement released by Comindico claimed the new FUP was also the result of the company’s decision to cut its wholesale charges earlier this month.

“The wholesale price squeeze facing Comindico and the ISP market has resulted in Comindico having to reduce its pricing to all of its ISP customers, thereby maintaining their competitive pricing position in the retail market,” the statement reads.

Comindico currently has about 50 ISP customers using its DSL network, including ISPs Dodo Internet, OzForces, Alphalink, Aardvark Internet and ihug.

Dodo Internet managing director, Larry Kestelman, said the ISP had been notified of the changes to Comindico’s FUP and the introduction of download speed throttling across its DSL network, but would not be subscribing to those conditions “at this stage”.

“Dodo will be taking a commercial risk and not put the fair use policy in place,” he said.

Instead, Dodo will pay extra usage fees to Comindico so it can continue to provide its customers with unlimited downloads without any connection speed reductions.

However, Dodo would continually review its customer usage policy to assess the risk of offering unlimited downloading across its ADSL retail services, he said.

Kestelman said about five per cent of Dodo’s customers would exceed the acceptable download usage now being specified by Comindico.

“But it is those five per cent that make it very difficult for everyone else,” he said.

“I don’t blame Comindico for trying to bring those [excess download] users under control. It is difficult to provide unlimited services.”

Kestelman said the download limits now being introduced by Comindico across its DSL network were still double that offered by Telstra Wholesale under its FUP.

General manager of Comindico wholesale customer OzForces, Chris Meder, agreed the new FUP was generous.

He said OzForces preferred a network focused on “quality over quantity”.

“While the network is equipped to handle significant volume of unlimited ADSL customers, there were some pre-emptive concerns based on the small number of users, flogging the network capacity and potentially causing serious performance degradation across the board,” Meder said.

“Provided Comindico delivers an across-the-board high level of performance to all end users, I’m confident that this will put the network in a much better position to compete with the other major ISPs in Australia, such as Telstra, iiNet, iPrimus, Optus and OzEmail.”

As a result of the FUP changes, OzForces will continue to offer its current range of ADSL plans, but will not promote these as “unlimited broadband offerings”.

The ISP will also be announcing reduced monthly charges across all of its residential ADSL plans later this week.

Meder said OzForces did not see the introduction of the download caps as a negative step for broadband in Australia.

“The FUP limits enforced will continue to provide more than generous allowances for downloads for the majority of our customers, not far off what they are currently doing each month.”

Nevertheless, OzForces was not tied “exclusively” to Comindico, and had investigated several supplementary plans using other wholesale networks with the aim of giving OzForces customers a wide choice of high-grade products, he said.

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