Optus launches VoDSL service

In a bid to attract Telstra's ISDN subscribers and build its profile in the SME space, Optus has launched a Voice over DSL (VoDSL) service which allows customers to access analog voice and data services via a single DSL network connection.

Heralding it as the first such VoDSL offering in Australia, Optus business director John Simon says the new service will give SMEs more choice in how they run their business and control their technology costs.

"Unlike Telstra's ISDN, VoDSL provides SMEs with an integrated voice and data solution at an affordable rate," he said.

The new Optus VoDSL service, which is now available, comes in two different packages. The DirectLine over DSL Lite plan includes four lines and one optional Internet access service and is available with access speeds of 512Kbps/64Kbps or 1.5Mbps/64Kbps. The DirectLine over DSL Plus plan features eight lines and one optional Internet access service, and is available with 512Kbps/64Kbps or 1.4Mbps/256Kbps access speeds.

As well as a connection fee of $480 for four lines and $960 for eight lines, customers will be changed a one-off installation fee of $120 per line, and a $25 monthly rental fee for each line.

Customers can then choose from three usage plans: a 1GB data download for $110, 3GB data download for $330 or a 5GB data download plan at $550 per month. Additional download usage is charged at $0.13 per MB, while data uploads are free. Normal charges apply for all telephone calls.

Besides their existing phone and communications equipment, customers will require an Integrated Access Device (IAD). Smaller than a notebook, the IAD serves as the interface between the DSL network service and the customer's voice and data equipment. It also acts as the DSL modem and performs the packetisation of voice traffic.

While IADs can take a maximum of eight lines, customers requiring more lines can opt to have multiple IADs installed. Optus, however, recommends that customers with such requirements to look into its higher-end MultiNet product range. The cost of the IAD device is included in the installation charges.

The IAD is then directly connect to the XYZed DSL network. XYZed, a subsidiary of Optus, provides business grade DSL services to carriers and corporates through its 105 exchanges around Australia.

While hesitant to name all of its VoDSL customers, an Optus spokesperson said Strathfield Car Radios and Positive Outcomes were involved in trialling the service. Other VoDSL customers should be announced shortly.

Commenting on the future success of VoDSL, the spokesperson said the Optus brand will convince many potential customers of the quality of the new VoDSL service.

"As the number two telco, the Optus brand is a very stable brand," the spokesperson said.

Optus is not the first Australian service provider to turn its hand to VoDSL. Early last year, Nortel Networks partnered with telco eCom and said they would trial VoDSL in Sydney. However, the trial did not go ahead. Nortel pulled out of the arrangement and eCom has since disappeared. Its Web site has not been updated for over 18 months.

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Nadia Cameron

Nadia Cameron

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