BigPond pushes ISDN as ADSL/cable alternative

Telstra has released a new ISDN home product, aiming to provide Australians in outer metropolitan and regional areas who are unable to access ADSL or cable broadband technologies with an alternative means of accessing high-speed Internet services.

The new volume-based BigPond ISDN plan gives consumers access to both 128Kbps download and upload speeds across their existing copper line for a monthly fee of $39.45.

Telstra said the ISDN plan compares favourably with BigPond’s ADSL plans, which start at $59.95 per month with a download speed of 256Kbps and upload speed of 64Kbps.

“The price is roughly comparable with ADSL once charges are added up and will appeal to people who want a faster, untimed Internet connection speed than they can get with a standard dial-up service,” BigPond managing director Justin Milne said in a press statement.

Similar to BigPond’s ADSL entry-level product, the new ISDN offering will include 500MB of downloads per month, with excess usage charged at 16.9 cents per megabyte (ADSL excess downloads are charged at 15.9 cents per megabyte). Users will, however, be required to pay $45.50 per month for their home line rental, in comparison to the usual $23.50 line rental for home phone lines.

Unlike ADSL, which requires the user’s premises to be within a 5km radius of the ADSL-enabled exchange, ISDN can be offered to homes up to 18km from the exchange. This makes the introduction of the new service a plus for consumers in remote areas who are ineligible for ADSL, and is also a good way for Telstra to lower its technology provision costs for delivering high-speed Internet services nationwide.

As well as the monthly charges, consumers will incur a one-off self-installation setup fee of $190.30, which covers the cost of converting their line from PSTN (public switched telephone network) technology to ISDN (integrated services digital network).

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