Uncapping real demand

What would you like to see in a broadband connection to your home? Lightning speed? Sky-high data limit? I'm only asking because the telcos don't seem to be terribly bothered finding out from you what it is you're after -- Telecom's mooted changes to JetStream being a case in point.

What would you like to see in a broadband connection to your home? Lightning speed? Sky-high data limit? I'm only asking because the telcos don't seem to be terribly bothered finding out from you what it is you're after -- Telecom's mooted changes to JetStream being a case in point.

I'm not asking for your dream setup here -- 100Mbit/s to the desktop, wireless LAN in the house with the TV hooked up to Xbox Live and a remote Tivo style recorder for free. (At least, not yet.) Let's stick to the real world.

Speed is the first consideration. I have JetStream at home and it's nice. It's quick, it's easy. More speed wouldn't be that much of a lure for me because I don't download huge files while simultaneously browsing the net, playing music and gaming online. My PC is barely capable of operating the monitor and one application together, let alone any more. Anything beyond 512Kbit/s is really wasted on me.

For me the killer is the traffic cap. I pay a fortune each month because I'm generally over my 1GB limit. This is a pathetic cut-off point that doesn't allow me to do anything in the way of really pushing my connection. The fact that nearly half of JetStream customers only use 500MB (so that's all they want) is a spurious argument -- either they can't afford to do any more or their speed is so low (JetStream Starter) that they can't be bothered. More traffic, please.

I'd also like to see national and international traffic separated and hang the complexity. National traffic doesn't cost anywhere near 20 cents per megabyte. Mind you, neither does international, but that's another battle. I'll pay my excess for international because most of my surfing is local stuff and I like to encourage that.

The big kicker, of course, is cost. I'd pay around $100 a month for a decent service that also allowed me to operate a virtual private network to the office. I'd like some notification in my billing so if I'm getting near my limit I could work out why. I'd like some tools to help me manage not only my usage but also my security. These tools were promised back when JetStream launched. Where is the free security test, the firewall advice (and I don't mean "Install a firewall"), the guide to getting the most from your connection? I see Xtra will be sending out emails saying "You're close to your limit", but really, that should have been version 1.0 and not something that's added in years later.

We're not after a free ride here. We broadband users are simply after a decent service that does what it's advertised as doing -- fast access, always on. Limits of 500MB mean you can't leave the PC running or you'll overshoot your cap just by your browser refreshing itself.

I've said before and I'll say again why Telecom's not about to give that to us. Here's a hint: cannibalism. But we can talk about that next week.

Brislen is IDGNet’s reporter. Send letters for publication in Computerworld to Computerworld Letters.

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