Broadband for the masses: today's prices

Things have moved on, broadband wise, since we last had a look at what providers are offering for the home user (last September).

Things have moved on, broadband wise, since we last had a look at what providers are offering for the home user (last September). A New Zealand residential broadband market is still in its infancy, recent OECD figures showing us trailing just about everyone on every level.

When we last looked at the offerings in Auckland, they were limited. Today there are several suppliers with a range of services.

Telecom dominates; only BCL has network reach to compare, but is working to a business plan that demands it target rural customers before looking at the cities. That leaves Telecom as the only national provider of services, at least until Woosh builds its promised network.

Telecom's DSL offerings run from JetStream Starter, now rehabilitated as an entry-level fast narrowband offering, through to the full-speed JetStream service. Telecom's had two bites of the cherry at launching its new entry-level 256kbit/s service and could have got it right with Surf. Sadly, it's not touched the high end full-speed offering for years; it remains outrageously priced. It's appeal is also limited by a 20 cents/megabyte penalty for any who dare use too much traffic. The other thing to factor into any Telecom offering is the price of the phone line, which starts at just over $25 a month.

TelstraClear is offering new services on its cable network in Wellington, Christchurch and the Kapiti Coast. They show up JetStream up as far as pricing and speed go. The cable product starts where JetStream ends and offers faster plans with higher traffic limits and excess usage levels at a fraction of the cost. The telling point with most of these services is the excess usage charges. Telecom's 20 cents/megabyte ranks as the highest with nearly everyone else charing far less.

Wired Country's offerings are about to be launched in Auckland central and the prices below are from Ihug and ICONZ's south Auckland offerings. Indications are they'll be similar in Auckland central.

Both Telecom and Ihug offer an excess usage throttle instead of charges, which reduces the bit rate to a dial-up speed. TelstraClear offers users the chance to buy "bump packs" of a set number of extra megabytes (100 or 500 for example) for a set price.

I haven't included the set-up costs as those vary and are often subject to waivers and special offers. I also haven't included any bundled pricing as both Telecom and TelstraClear have on offer simply because I'm trying to compare apples with apples. Most of the providers seem to be settling on speeds that are below 1Mbit/s as being fine for the home user. I would think of that as a starting point, but I'm assured that the difference between 256kbit/s and 2Mbit/s is more or less undetectable during regular surfing and only becomes apparent during file transfers or downloads.

Brislen is Computerworld Online'sreporter. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

NameSpeedTraffic ExcessPrice7
Telecom1
JetStream Surf 1GB256/128 1GB $0.05/MB$49.95
JetStream Surf 3GB256/128 3GB$0.05/MB$59.95
JetStream Surf Flatrate 256/128 10GBthrottled9$79.95
JetStream Starter128/128 5GB10 $0.10/MB$64.90
JetStream Home 500 FS2000/51211500MB$0.20/MB$59.00
JetStream Home 1000 FS2000/512111GB $0.20/MB$79.95
TelstraClear2
Paradise HighSpeed 1G2000/5121GB $0.0495/MB$39.95
Paradise HighSpeed 5G2000/5125GB $0.0199/MB$59.95
Paradise LightSpeed 10G10Mbits/1MB10GB $0.0149/MB$139.95
Wired Country

Ihug3

Ihug Flat Priced 256 256/256 1500MB12throttled13$42.95
Ihug Flat Priced 10001000/10002000MB14 throttled13$62.95
Ihug Flat Priced 20002000/20005GB15throttled13$112.95
ICONZ4
EzyWireless 256256/256 200MB $0.05/MB8$36.25
EzyWireless 256 Un256/256 unlimitedNA $65.00
EzyWireless 1Mbit/s1000/1000unlimitedNA $110.00
BCL Extend Network

ICONZ5

ICONZ/BCL 256K256/128 1000MB $0.12/MB$105.00
ICONZ/BCL 256K256/128 2000MB$0.12/MB$115.00
ICONZ/BCL 512K512/1281000MB $0.12/MB$145.00
ICONZ/BCL 512K512/1282000MB$0.12/MB$155.00
Telecom5
Xtra Wireless 1000256/128 1000MB$0.20/MB$109.95
Xtra Wireless 2000256/128 2000MB$0.20/MB$119.95
Xtra Wireless 1000 Plus512/1281000MB $0.20/MB$149.95
Xtra Wireless 2000 Plus 512/1282000MB$0.20/MB$159.95
Woosh
Woosh Everyday250/250unlimited6NA $64.95
Woosh Business 2350/350 2000MB$0.125 $122.62
Woosh Business 5350/350 5000MB$0.125 $223.87
Woosh Business 10350/350 10GB$0.125 $403.87
1: Telecom customers receive a $10/month discount if they also use Telecom for tolls access. Telecom service also requires a home phone line which costs from $25.55 a month.

2: TelstraClear customers must also pay $10.95 a month for a cable modem.

3: Ihug customers must also pay Telecom for a home phone line which costs from $25.55 a month.

4: ICONZ customers must also pay Telecom for a home phone line which costs from $25.55 a month.

5: BCL Extend customers don't need a Telecom phone line

6: Woosh has a "soft cap" approach to traffic that means if you exceed the current median usage by a factor of 10 you will be asked to review your policy. Effectively that's a 7GB limit each month.

7: All prices include GST

8: ICONZ excess traffic charge for international traffic only - national is free.

9: no extra charges but connection speed limited to a maximum of 64kbit/s.

10: international traffic only -- national is uncapped

11: best effort speed -- speed may vary depending on distance from exchange

12: 1500 MB of international peak traffic, with an additional 5GB of international off-peak (2am to 2pm). National traffic is free

13: no extra charges but connection speed limited "to dial-up speed"

14: 2GB of international peak traffic, with an additional 8GB of international off-peak traffic. National traffic is free.

15: 5GB of international peak traffic, with an additional 15GB of international off-peak traffic. National traffic is free.

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