iiNet cranks ADSL to 8Mbps

Perth-based ISP, iiNet, has blown smoke in the face of rivals by firing up residential broadband speeds to 8Mbps and planning for up to 24Mbps later this year.

The "Broadband2" plans, launched on Tuesday, offer up to 8Mbps speeds to customers on iiNet DSLAMs who bundle with it's "iiphone" telephone services. A DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) is iiNet's own broadband infrastructure placed in local telephone exchanges. The plans start at $29.95 per month and speed depends on distance from the exchange.

iiNet Managing Director Michael Malone expects the offer to grow his substantial subscriber base, which at the end of last year included over 60,000 broadband customers, and cause a shift in the market.

"iiNet has always avoided being a 'me too' player," he said. "We want to shift the entire market in directions that ultimately give customers the best possible deal.

"Now we want to break the current industry-wide pricing model, that decent speed services are expensive. We want to see the speed be as high as your line can get."

iiNet has invested more than $10 million over the past year installing and rolling out its DSLAM infrastructure. By the end of 2004, it had one third of its broadband customers on its own equipment.

iiNet's architecture is based on Ericsson DSLAMs, installed in Telstra exchanges. So far, the equipment is running ADSL1 (which is the only protocol currently approved for use in Australia).

"We expect however, to see ADSL2 and maybe ADSL2+ ratified in 2005," Malone said. "This would extend potential speeds to 12Mbps and 24Mbps respectively."