Telecom defends new JetStream plans

Telecom is defending its decision to introduce a new 256Kbit/s service over the top of its JetStream Home 256Kbit/s service, introduced in September last year.

Telecom is defending its decision to introduce a new 256Kbit/s service over the top of its JetStream Home 256Kbit/s service, introduced in September last year.

The JetStream Home service, a symmetrical 256Kbit/s service, was offered with three data caps: 500MB, 1GB and 2GB per month. At the time Telecom claimed that more than half of its JetStream customers use less than 500MB of traffic in a month.

However, Telecom has now introduced JetStream Surf, an asymmetrical 256Kbit/s/128Kbit/s service with traffic limits of 1GB, 3GB and 10GB. The largest plan also does away with excess traffic charges, instead allowing customers that exceed the traffic limit to continue using the connection but at a maximum of 64Kbit/s.

Telecom's head of internet and online marketing Chris Thompson says the two services are complementary not competitive and the reason for removing the JetStream Home services from the JetStream plan lists on the website is more for ease of use.

"We don't like to have more than three or four in a communication."

Thompson says there is no plan to delete the JetStream Home service at this stage.

"I think they'll fit in together for a while but the major need for symmetrical service tends to be with the business user rather than the consumer market."

Thompson says the reason for the introduction of the JetStream Surf plans was more to do with offering a totally different entry-level product.

"The majority, if not all, the growth has been on those new plans, however there were a couple of things we wanted to put into the market in addition to those that we thought would get broadband going even faster."

Thompson says having a flat-rate plan was the main driving force behind the introduction of JetStream Surf.

"That's been a really problematic thing to do. We tried it with JetStart and our reseller ISPs found it was not economic to provide as an unlimited flat rate but people still want that price certainty of a flat rate plan."

Thompson says Telecom will also maintain a "watching brief" on TelstraClear's new price points for its cable broadband service in Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti Coast, especially with regard to the use of "bump packs" where users can buy additional traffic capacity in blocks for a set price.

"That's certainly something we'll be watching to see which way the market moves."

Currently Telecom is somewhat hindered by its billing system which does not offer real-time solutions: Thompson says the move to such a system, along with more back-end network development, would be needed to offer such flexibility.

Thompson would not say how many JetStream customers Telecom now has, saying such information needs to be released as part of the company's quarterly reports. He says he is pleased with the uptake rate.

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