Optus succumbs to common broadband definition

Excess charges axed in Optus terabyte plan shakeup

Optus has axed its last plan to charge users for using more than their monthly quota in a plan refresh that also introduced terabyte limits to the telco’s offering.

The service providers’ refreshed ‘yes’ Fusion bundled broadband and home phone plans offer quotas of either 500 gigabytes (GB) or a terabyte (TB) per month for $99, $109, or $129. Users on each plan will be restricted to 256 kilobits per second (Kbps) once they reach their monthly quota, instead of the $150 per gigabyte charged on previous Fusion plans.

“Our customers are telling us that they want more all inclusive bundles and higher data options from their fixed broadband plans,” Optus consumer marketing director, Gavin Williams, said.

Williams said the lack of excess charges would also help customers manage their bills.

The new Optus plans signal a significant change for the telco, which has traditionally capped user download speeds at a maximum of 64Kbps, or approximately dial-up speeds. The Fusion plans are only the second time it has offered 256Kbps shaping.

256Kbps is considered the baseline speed for ‘broadband’ services by both industry watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as well as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ACCC used the baseline as an attack against Optus in the latest slew of court battles between the two parties, arguing the normal 64Kbps limit was “well below broadband”. Presiding judge, Justice Nye Perram ordered the telco issue corrective advertising over its ‘Think Bigger’ and ‘Supersonic’ ad campaigns, while also providing potentially misled customers the opportunity to back out of the affected plans without penalty.

The shift also signals a raising standard of minimum speeds across Australian service providers, many of which have begun to offer shaped speeds of up to four megabits per second on some residential plans.

The new terabyte quota from Optus comes approximately four months after Perth-based provider iiNet first launched its thousand gigabyte plan, and following an onslaught of marketing and plan refreshes from competitors in what Exetel chief executive, John Linton, called “headline seeking” stunts.

Larry Kestelman, chief executive of low-cost provider Dodo, also weighed in on the issue, calling for all ISPs to offer unlimited plans instead.

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