National broadband company Internode has launched a download quota 'top up' program that provides its customers with an alternative to excess charges or slower speeds through 'Shaping'.
Internode now allows its customers to purchase extra download 'Data Blocks' on demand, for occasions when they might otherwise exceed their monthly download allowance.
This lets them continue downloading at full-speed without unplanned costs or their speed reduced.
Internode product manager, Jim Kellett, said Data Blocks offered a "win-win" solution.
"This is a customer-friendly alternative to excess fees and dovetails perfectly with Shaping," Kellett said.
"Unlike excess fees, the customer consciously commits to extra costs, so they don't' get a nasty surprise when their bill arrives. It's like topping up prepaid mobile phone credits as, and when, you need a little extra.
"If the customer exceeds their download allowance and prefers to work within the constraints of Shaping, there is no extra cost. If they want their service to remain full-speed, they can buy data blocks. And if their download habits change permanently, of course, they can just change plans."
Internode recorded its 100,000th broadband customer earlier this year.
Launched on July 31, Data Blocks provide customers with a way to instantly 'top up' their monthly download quota.
Customers nearing their monthly quota limit can buy a 'block' of data online to continue surfing without being Shaped - that is, having their speed slowed to 64 or 128 kilobits per second (depending on the plan).
Alternatively, if they are already over quota and subject to Shaping controls, they can buy a Data Block to have Shaping removed and return to normal speed. Data Blocks are purchased 'on demand' and are billed monthly in arrears on a customer's broadband account.
Like the monthly download allowances, Data Blocks must be used within the current month. Prices for Data Blocks range from $5 for one Gigabyte to $90 for 30 Gigabytes.
The Austrailan-owned IP carrier has a network that extends to all major capital cities within Australia, as well as San Jose and Los Angeles in the United States.
The network uses protected clear-channel STM-1 (155Mbit/sec) and STM-4 (622Mbit/sec) SDH bearer circuits between each capital city and between the US and Australia.
It also has fail-over capability, which enables the network to 'self-heal' and re-route data via an alternate link in the event of a link failure.
International connectivity from Sydney to the US is via multiple STM-4 (622Mbit/sec) circuits which run on separate segments of the Southern Cross Fibre Optic Cable Network & Australia-Japan Cable Network and land at separate points in both countries.
- Sandra Rossi