Actrix increases JetStream Starter price by over 300%

Wellington based ISP Actrix has increased its price for JetStream Starter, from $34.95 to a whopping $149.95 as of January.

Wellington based ISP Actrix has increased its price for JetStream Starter, from $34.95 to a whopping $149.95 as of January 1, 2003.

An email to JetStream Starter customers says the cost has gone up so Actrix won't have to restrict download levels.

Most of the other ISPs that sell JetStream Starter have instigated data caps, including Telecom's own ISP, Xtra, to stop what is described as excessive use by some customers.

"Actrix, however, will continue to provide a flat rate for JetStart, charging no extra fees regardless of how much customers download," says Actrix's email.

Actrix's group general manager George Reedy defends the move, saying Actrix is responding to the market conditions.

"It's only reflecting what's going on in the market. Everyone else has put caps in place and we're leaving ours open."

He says the company will be actively looking for those excessive-use customers that other ISPs are trying to get rid of.

"We're going to go out and target those customers. It's part of a pricing strategy we're putting in place."

Reedy says that unfortunately any customer who doesn't fit that bill will probably find the costing excessive and move to another provider.

"Unfortunately we're not [offering any other service] at this time. We just want to keep it simple and straight forward."

Reedy declines to comment on suggestions that Telecom's pricing model for JetStream Starter is behind the move. Telecom's charging model for JetStream Starter means the ISP pays for any excessive bandwidth usage by the end user.

"The $149.95 price remains competetive when compared to what other ISP's charge high volume [JetStream Starter] customers once excess usage charges are taken into account," says Reedy.

However, at least one user is unhappy at being charged such a large amount because of other users' excessive traffic. Lyndsay Roger, an Actrix customer in Dunedin, is less than impressed.

"According to my logs I use about 30-40MB per day which ... Actrix describes as very light but I get lumped in with the few heavy downloaders and told to '**** off as we don't want you anymore'. This sucks."

Roger would prefer Actrix to introduce a capped service, as the other ISPs have, as he uses less than 2.5GB a month.

"Gone are the days of the customer being important and the purpose of a company being there...Now it's the 'oh darn we are being taken to the cleaners by a few so lets dump everyone'."

Mark Thompson, another Actrix customer, will be looking for a new ISP when the charges come into effect.

"I have been meaning to change however I just found i couldn't be bothered, just needed something to motivate me."

He says with the cost of national traffic being close to zero he would like to see a service with only international traffic capped.

"I think personally a good plan would be the following: 15GB/month at $45 [for]

international. The service is still affordable."

Thompson wonders what will happen to those customers using voice over IP (VoIP) on the service.

But Gordon King, author of a political blog, can see the sense in the move, although he agrees the price is steep.

"I'm sitting here thinking how much I miss constant leeching - life hasn't been the same since the caps came on. Now I'm thinking 'do I like it enough to pay $150 a month for the pleasure?' Maybe not, but lets see if someone comes in at $129.00 for example."

Walker Wireless currently offers a 256KBit/s plan for $129 a month.

The new fee doesn't include Telecom's $29.95 charge so the total price for JetStream Starter customers would be $179.90.

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