Full steam ahead for unconstrained DSL

Wholesale pricing a 'positive surprise' for wholesalers

Telecom has announced the availability of unconstrained full speed DSL for its wholesalers, under the current Commercial Unbundled Bitstream Service (CUBS) scheme.

The new plans include the Regulated UBS (RUBS) as well, which comes with unconstrained downloads but 128kbit/s uploads, as per the Commerce Commission’s determination on CallPlus and Ihug’s recent applications.

End-users will be able to remove DSL line interleaving to improve latency, according to Telecom. Gamers, VoIP customers and others using delay-sensitive applications have complained about Telecom’s high interleave setting, which adds some 40 to 50ms of roundtrip time for packets.

RUBS will cost $28.04 wholesale, whereas the fully unconstrained CUBS will go for $38 plus GST. This, says Orcon regulatory affairs manager Scott Bartlett, is very good news. “We were expecting a price north of $55, which is what the current 3.5Mbps/512kbps service costs,” Barlett says. The new price means Orcon will be able to get a better margin on reselling Telecom’s DSL, something the provider desperately needs, according to Bartlett.

Orcon is also pleased to see that Telecom will retain the cheaper low-speed 256/128kbit/s and 2M/128kbit/s plans, which have come down slightly in price to $20.98 and $24.30 respectively. Bartlett says that Orcon, which is currently selling its cheapest DSL service below what it pays Telecom at $19.99, thought the Commission’s RUBS determination was “ill-advised” as it feared the $28.04 price would be the benchmark.

However, Bartlett says that while Telecom could’ve gone for the higher price as the starting point, it didn’t, and Orcon will now be able to market low-cost plans. He expects Orcon to launch new full-speed plans within a week of the announcement.

David Diprose, Ihug’s regulatory affairs manager, says that overall, the full-speed plans are a positive step and what the industy organisation, ISPANZ, has been asking for. Ihug, which doesn’t resell the lower-speed plans, intends to make use of both the CUBS and RUBS, as the latter is slightly cheaper than the $30 Ihug pays for its 3.5M/128kbps service currently.

However, Diprose questions the $10 price differential between the fully and partially unconstrained services, as they cost Telecom exactly the same to deliver. He also says that current backhaul issues may worsen, as Telecom is yet to upgrade from its ATM ASAMs to faster Ethernet ISAMS from Alcatel.

Diprose says it’s too early to announce pricing for the new plans.

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