Optus drops broadband access prices

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Optus has announced sweeping price reductions of between $5 and $30 a month for its DSL and cable broadband internet plans, on the back of Telstra’s recent controversial price cuts.

Optus has announced sweeping price reductions of between $5 and $30 a month for its DSL and cable broadband internet plans, on the back of Telstra's recent controversial price cuts.

OptusNet DSL and OptusNet Cable plans with 300MB of data would cost $39.95 per month (down from $49.95), effective 1 March and 1 April respectively, the company said. The DSL plan is $10 per month more expensive than Telstra's but offers twice the speed at 512Kb/s and an extra 100MB of data.

DSL 'Lite' has dropped from $59.95 to $49.95; while at the top end the 'Unlimited Pro' package (speed limited after 20GB) has fallen $30 to $99.95.

For cable, the Lite 1GB package would drop from $54.95 to $49.95 on 1 April, while the top Unlimited Pro package would drop from $109.95 to $94.95.

Existing OptusNet Broadband customers are being moved across to the new plans. Optus said it would 'continue to offer flat rate pricing on all plans by not charging excess usage fees.'

It claimed it 'speed throttles' broadband services when customers exceed their limits. 'That means no bill shock for customers - unlike some other ISPs where customers can unwittingly exceed their download limits and face huge, unexpected charges at the end of the month, the company said.

Martin Dagleish, MD for Optus consumer and multimedia, said the company had rejected the industry standard of giving entry-level DSL plan speeds of 256Kb/s. 'Industry experts agree that quality full screen or TV-like experiences on the internet for video and multimedia entertainment are only possible with 512Kb/s speeds,' he said.

In conjunction with the price changes, the company launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign dubbed 'Fly' which would include TV, print, outdoor, cinema, online and direct mail advertising.

For the first time, the company would also offer broadband via its 133 Optus World stores around the country.

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