telstra big pond

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    .......and don't forget all this rubs off on IINet and Swiftel......IIN..SWT

    Telstra executives have emphatically ruled out slashing the price of BigPond broadband Internet services as a way of stimulating takeup.
    Telstra BigPond managing director, Justin Milne, told a media briefing in Sydney today "we don't have any plans to drop the prices anytime soon, by the way".

    The telecommunications company released figures it said showed BigPond entry-level ADSL plan prices -- adjusted for currency valuations and purchasing power -- ranked below those in countries such as the United States and France.

    The carrier also revealed that it derived 10-20 percent of its BigPond broadband revenues from excess usage charges -- despite the fact only six percent of users breached the download limits of their service plan.

    BigPond executives acknowledged, however, that of that six percent, some "go quite considerably over" their limits. The company had no plans to increase those limits.

    "Users are getting more and more used to paying for what you use," the executives said.

    Telstra said its average revenues per BigPond broadband user were around 3.5 times those derived from dial-up users, at AU$81 as opposed to AU$24.

    Telstra revealed the figures at a re-launch of its BigPond brand and unveiling of a suite of new offerings designed to help the carrier achieve its target of connecting one million broadband users -- 500,000 retail and 500,000 wholesale -- by 2005. The company presently has around 360,000 -- 240,000 retail and 120,000 wholesale.

    Milne said the carrier believed it would "bolt in" that target.

    The carrier is predicting growth in revenues from broadband from AU$250 million presently to AU$1 billion in 2006.

    Milne said the Australian broadband market was now at a "tipping point", after which growth was poised to swing upwards. Telstra's job, he said, was to "light a fire under that".

    A key plank of that strategy is using quality content to drive subscriber numbers, rather than charging users for access. Telstra is planning to release four new content channels to the BigPond subscriber base from Sunday, encompassing music, sports, entertainment and games. The carrier also unveiled an Internet rights sponsorship with the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

    Another initiative is a new television advertising campaign.

    Group managing director, Telstra broadband, Bruce Ackhurst declined to state when Telstra expected growth to plateau or price to become an issue in stimulating broadband takeup, saying only the carrier expected growth to continue for the remainder of the decade. He pointed out that broadband Internet had only achieved 4 percent penetration within the Australian population to date.

    Telstra also revealed that its broadband services would be profitable on both an EBIT and EBITDA basis for the current financial year. It also plans to invest AU$1 billion over the next five years within its existing capital expenditure budget to scale up its networks in order to accommodate demand.

    Akhurst said the carrier had taken "a very close look" at the performance of its network over the past few months, with its problems either fixed or on the way to being so.

    He said that last week, the DSL network had achieved 99.9 percent uptime, a figure which, if achieved over a month, would equate to just four minutes' downtime.

    "Quite frankly, we're not going to be satisfied until there's no problems at all," he said.

    The carrier also said it was planning to support wireless home networks.
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