Telstra coughs up for ADSL outages in Australia

In a bid to overcome the lingering stigma surrounding its ADSL network in Australia, Telstra has announced it will provide ADSL customers with service level guarantees and offer rebates if network availability falls below 99% per month.

In a bid to overcome the lingering stigma surrounding its ADSL network in Australia, Telstra has announced it will provide ADSL customers with service level guarantees and offer rebates if network availability falls below 99% per month.

The new ADSL network performance guarantees, which will take effect on July 1, include the authentication, authorisation and accounting servers for each BigPond ADSL customer – areas that have been the most problematic for customers over the past 12 months, Telstra says.

Applications and services provided by Telstra BigPond, such as mail, web hosting, third party content, the usage meter, or the customer's modem, will not be covered by the new guarantees.

Customers will be offered rebates for network unavailability on three levels. If monthly ADSL network availability falls below 99% but is equal or higher than 97%, customers will be entitled to a 10% rebate on their monthly subscription fee. For network outages that exceed three percent of the total availability but are less than six percent, customers will receive a 20% rebate. If ADSL network availability fall below 94%, the rebate will be equal to 50% of the customer's monthly ADSL fee.

The measurements will be not be derived from a national average of the network, but instead, by the ability of the ADSL network to each individual subscriber, Telstra says. Based on these rates, rebates will then be automatically credited to customers on the following month's bill.

The decision to offer rebates on its ADSL network coincides with the Telstra Wholesale's announcement that it would also offer rebates to its wholesale DSL customers for network outages exceeding six hours.

The rebate will apply to those customers currently using Layer 2 (now trialing as L2TP) or Layer 3 (FlexStream or CommerceStream) products, and will be introduced on 1 July, with customers able to claim rebates from the following month onwards. The service guarantee does not cover planned outages, or problem's arising from the user's server or equipment.

Rebates on the wholesale service guarantees are similarly structured to the retail product, with customers experiencing outages of more than 42.5 hours per month entitled to a 50% rebate on the average end user access charge.

Telstra Wholesale PR representative Rob Bruem says introducing service level guarantees to Telstra's DSL wholesale customers would in turn, give them the opportunity to pass on guarantees and rebates to their clients and allow them to compete fairly with Telstra's retail DSL offerings. If feedback is positive, Telstra will also look at extending the rebate across other broadband offerings, such as cable or its business products, he says.

Guarantees on ADSL and wholesale DSL services do not cover the copper access network or slow connections, or network unavailability due to scheduled upgrades.

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