Chello hints at future speed bump

Chello has signalled the prospect of home Internet services faster than its current 512Kbit/s flat-rate offering - but not right now.

Chello has signalled the prospect of home Internet services faster than its current 512Kbit/s flat-rate offering - but not right now.

The Dutch-based broadband ISP currently offers a 512Kbit/s (downstream, with a 128Kbit/s return path) service via Telstra-Saturn's cable network at a flat rate of $90 per month. Chello's is the only flat-rate broadband service targeted at the home - but its cap makes it slower than either Ihug Ultra, which can hit 2Mbit/s or Telecom JetStream, where some users get better than 2Mbit/s.*

Chello's marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand, Geoff Isaac says that "on unlimited products we'll have to have the cap at the moment - the bandwidth than can be consumed is quite horrific. But obviously there might be other products down the track offering faster speeds."

Like other providers, Chello appears to be waiting for November's launch of the Southern Cross cable, which will bring much cheaper international capacity, to unveil new plans.

Chello also recently registered the domains chello-excite.co.nz, chelloexcite.co.nz, excite-chello.co.nz and excitechello.co.nz in the wake of the announcement of the merger of Chello and the US broadband Internet and set-top box provider Excite@Home. But Isaac says there are "no concrete plans for the moment" to deploy Excite@Home's offerings in New Zealand.

"The merger isn't even finalised and is still subject to regulatory approval at this stage," says Isaac. "It's purely precautionary - we don't want to have to deal with cybersquatters."

* Service via the Telstra-Saturn network is also available from the Telstra-owned Paradise.net, but its 512Kbit/s home service is limited to 500Mb of traffic per month, with additional international traffic charged at 20 cents per megabyte and national traffic at 2 cents. A Paradise business service is also available at 2048Kbit/s, with free traffic of 500Mb ($107 per month plus GST) or 1000Mb ($129 per month plus GST).

Service via Ihug Ultra is available at $39.95 (30 hours per month) or $59.95 (300 hours per month), with extra hours charged at $1.50, the time-based model having replaced the former 3Gb monthly traffic limit when the former Satnet service was rebranded as Ultra. Services based on Telecom's JetStream DSL service, such as Xtra Velocity, typically start around $100 monthly with a 600Mb traffic limit and 20 cents a megabyte thereafter. A flat-rate version of JetStream has been tipped to accompany the launch of the Southern Cross cable.

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