Australians want broadband priced by both speed and data

Internet providers should stop imposing download limits and let their customers pay for speed and what they use, according to a survey from Compare Broadband.

A recent poll at broadband comparison site Compare Broadband asked visitors, ‘Would you prefer to pay for broadband according to speed and only for what you use?’ A resounding 79% of the total 913 voters said they would like to be charged by both speed and how much data they used, whilst only 13% said they wanted to be charged ‘by speed and what I’m told I can use’, meaning a download quota, while 8% of poll participants said they ‘didn’t know’.

In the past, the ADSL infrastructure in Australia has limited the ability for internet service providers to differentiate pricing based on superfast broadband speed; the spectrum of speed available through the NBN provides the choice of speed to be a differentiator.

However, all of the internet providers, bar Exetel, have taken the traditional Australian route of also employing download limits on each plan, going against the poll’s conclusion that Australians only want to pay for what they use.

Commenting on the survey, Compare Broadband's General Manager, Scott Kennedy, said:
"With the advent of the NBN, broadband in Australia will soon be a commodity. The fibre network product will provide sufficient differentiation in speed to enable consumers to purchase based on their speed requirements and charged based on what they consume."

Exetel seems to be on the right track, as the internet provider is only charging per gigabyte used, with a minimum monthly subscription fee added onto the 50mbps and 100mbps plans. Exetel's 25mbps plan has no such monthly fee and so customers can receive a speed faster than ADSL2+ and only be charged at $2.00 per gigabyte. If you use 5GB, your monthly cost would be a paltry $10.00.

Due to infrastructure issues in Australia it has been hard to provide broadband based solely on speed, as is typical in the USA and other countries around the world.  The NBN roll-out in Tasmania is the first step to changing this by providing broadband choice.

Usage:                    10GB     30GB       30GB      50GB       60GB       90GB

Speed:                         25mbps                50mbps             100mbps

Provider:
Exetel
(12 mth contract)
    $20.00    $60.00    $55.00    $75.00    $95.00    $117.50
Internode
(mth-mth)  
            $29.95    $39.95    $49.95    $59.95    $79.95    $99.95
iiNet
(24 mth contract)
    $59.95    $69.95    $89.95    $99.95    $129.95    $159.95

Compare Broadband have assumed data will be consumed between 9am and 11pm. iiNet plans currently have an $80 set-up cost, while Exetel and Internode set-up fees are waived. These prices exclude hardware costs.