Telstra denies ADSL price hike

Telstra BigPond ADSL residential users face another price increase, according to reports on broadband community site Whirlpool.net.au.

Whirlpool claims to have obtained leaked documents which show the increase will be announced next month. It says the popular BigPond Freedom Deluxe plan will increase in price by $6 per month. The current price is $105.50 per month.

The site's allegation comes amid Telstra customers' anger at recently imposed download limits, price increases and network downtime. For many broadband users, Telstra is the only supplier of ADSL residential services.

In September 2001 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) directed Telstra to change its then anti-competitive provision of ADSL services. ACCC Chairman Professor Allan Fels said at the time that Telstra's actions were restricting consumer choice in residential areas to one provider, Telstra.

Telstra spokesperson Stuart Gray on Monday refused to confirm or deny a price increase. "We don't comment on chat sites", he said.

One member of Whirlpool who did not wish to be quoted, claimed a price increase, accompanied by improvements for business and cable users, are aimed at persuading customers to change services, rather than Telstra fixing the problems.

"They sold these [ADSL] plans to people on the basis of unlimited access. A few months ago they introduced a limit... but I live in a flat, so I can't get cable."

In a statement, Whirlpool editor Simon Wright said: "Cable customers will have their speed caps removed under the [claimed] new plans, but ADSL customers who have suffered continual network problems in the past year will remain at capped speeds, and will also have their plan pricing raised."

However, Telstra's Gray refuted these claims. He also said BigPond ADSL would in fact eventually be available in more places than cable.

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Steven Deare

PC World
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