$1500 price daunting for wireless broadband users

Both Xtra and ICONZ have launched wireless broadband services using BCL's Extend network, however the installation cost of nearly $1500 could be a barrier to entry.

Both Xtra and ICONZ have launched wireless broadband services using BCL's Extend network, however the installation cost of nearly $1500 could be a barrier to entry.

Both services offer two speed points, either a 256Kbit/s or 512Kbit/s service. Xtra Wireless has traffic caps at 1GB for $109.95 including GST or 2GB for $119.95 on the slower speed service and $149.95 and $159.95 respectively at 512Kbit/s. Excess usage is charged at Xtra's standard rate of 20 cents per megabyte.

ICONZ offers the same speed points and will charge $105 for 1GB and $115 for 2GB at the slower speed and $140 and $150 at the faster speed. ICONZ will only be charging 12 cents per megabyte for excess usage.

General manager of ICONZ Sean Weekes says he would like to see the price of the customer premises equipment (CPE) come down.

"If it was about two thirds cheaper I think you'd see 10 times the number of people taking it up."

BCL's managing director Geoff Lawson says his company is simply the wholesaler and doesn't control what price the retailers set for the service or the equipment.

"While the wholesaler doesn't set the retail price, the point I would make is you have to be competitive."

Lawson says the price can only move one way from this point: downwards.

By way of contrast, the recently launched Woosh portable wireless broadband solution costs $448 including GST for the wireless modem and has no installation cost at the moment and Wired Country's service charges $110 for installation for business while residential customers pay $80 for installation. Telecom charges $199.95 for JetStream self-installation plus the cost of the modem.

Xtra's internet and online marketing manager Chris Thompson says the pricing is driven by the cost of the equipment.

"We've already had strong interest in the service even before we've launched it so price isn't a major impediment for those that have been waiting for the service."

Thompson describes the service as "horses for courses" and says it will appeal to those that haven't been able to receive broadband connectivity before.

"Some of these rural customers are on 14.4 Kbit/s modems at the moment. It's a huge step up for them."

The third ISP to retail BCL's service is Ihug which has yet to announce its pricing. The BCL network goes live from November 9.

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