iPrimus to launch “naked” broadband

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iPrimus to launch “naked” broadband

iPrimus is set to join other ISPs offering a way out for Internet users sick of line rental charges.

iPrimus will begin offering Internet plans in February that don’t require line-rental charges, said marketing manager Andrew Sims. He said the entry level "naked DSL" plans will cost less than $50.

The telco joins several ISPs already offering or that have reportedly announced plans to offer naked DSL, including iiNet, Internode, Exetel, Adam Internet, Amnet, and TPG.

Sims predicted the service would become popular as more customers decide to switch to VOIP or mobile phones for calls.

"Absolutely, there’s a lot of customers out there saying they don’t want to pay the line rental. We’re seeing a huge shift in fixed line traffic to mobile," he said.

iPrimus already has a "few hundred" residential customers testing the service. "We were actually the first to market and have been doing naked DSL since about 2000 with our business customers,” Sims said.

While iiNet has bundled VOIP with its naked DSL service, iPrimus will initially allow customers to signup to naked DSL without VOIP.

Internode is also gearing up to launch naked DSL in "late February or early March", managing director Simon Hackett said. "We’re quite close to release. We expect to see our first naked DSL service come out sometime in the next month or so."

Like iPrimus, Internode will also offer the option of an Internet-only plan without VOIP. This will be followed later by a voice and data bundle.

"The bundles we’re seeing often include a VOIP service. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the feedback we’ve got indicated some people just want the megabits," Hackett said.

The Internode rollout is significant because the ISP will initially be using Optus-equipped telephone exchanges, increasing the potential number of customers that will have access to Internode's naked DSL.

"The reason is to get it out there in a hurry,” Hackett said. "The Optus rollout I think has more than 300 exchanges already, so it’s a big jump in coverage for our customers in terms of ADSL2+ availability. It doesn’t mean we’ve decided to stop doing our own, it just means we can get a bigger footprint."

South Australian ISP Adam Internet has about 100 people testing naked DSL and is hoping to launch its service by the end of February, said managing director Scott Hicks.

Hicks said Adam's naked DSL would be "roughly ten dollars more expensive than all of our current ADLS2 plans," but would also include VOIP.

He said had been some delays getting brand new naked DSL service provisioned where there was no dial tone previously. "That's been the big holdup and why it’s been delayed up till this point," he said.

"Offering naked DSL is something you can’t walk into and expect to be offering in 3 months time. I think you’ll find all the major carriers will get their systems ironed out and all be offering it within the next 6 months."

Exetel also launched naked DSL late last year. CEO John Linton said he expected a significant proportion of Exetel’s new customers to signup for naked DSL.

"We would expect it to become 85% of all ADSL2 applications within six months as the remaining users who have doubts about VoIP have their fears allayed," he said.

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