An open letter to Telstra, the TIO and others

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2010 at 9:23 am

For anyone that has been following my blog and/or my comments on Telstra Exchange you will have noted I have exhausted just about every means I can think of to get an official response from Telstra/Bigpond on why wireless users are being treated as second rate customers and of little value to Telstra/Bigpond.  My draft letter is the following, if anyone wants to edit or add to my letter please add your comments before the 12 September.

– START –

To whom it may concern, I wish to register a complaint of discrimination against Telstra Wireless Broadband Users.

With an ever growing and expanding Internet the need for a fast internet connection with sufficient broadband quota is now a need rather than a want for most Australian households. This has been recognised by the Australian Government with the creation of the National Broadband Network (NBN) policy of which will provide Fibre optic connections to 93% of Australians. The remaining 7% will have either wireless or satellite broadband connections.

While the roll out of the NBN is in progress, the time it will take for that roll out to be completed will be up to, or possible even more than 8 years. During that time, and even today, there are many that are already limited to wireless only connections provided by Telstra/Bigpond. While getting the service at all is appreciated, especially as no other ISP is willing to provide us a service, there is too big of a gap between what these wireless users are able to get for the price they pay versus what other broadband users on ADSL or Cable are able to get.

On January 14 2010 there were some minor adjustments made to Telstra/Bigpond wireless plans. These included a minor adjustment in quota and price for the smaller plans and only a $10 discount for the top 10GB plan with no data increase (http://bit.ly/c7D8kk).

However for ADSL and Cable since January 2010 there has been a number of improvements made to the ADSL/Cable plans by Telstra, all of which are not available to wireless users. These include;
April 6th: 25GB plans made available to ADSL/Cable users for only $49.95 (http://bit.ly/cVG8ar)
June 17th: Telstra release new Home Bundles, allowing ADSL/Cable users to bundle a number of their services to get significant discounts and also a choice of a T-Hub or T-Box (http://bit.ly/d6ujhL)
July 25th: More data at better prices for ADSL and Cable users (http://bit.ly/9iDy6d)
August 2nd: More bundle options for ADSL and Cable users at better prices (http://bit.ly/bZqrFp)
September 7th: Better shaping speeds for the top ADSL/Cable plans (http://bit.ly/94m8qv)

This is just a sample of the differences between wireless and ADSL/Cable. While Telstra have advised it is because it is a different marketing issue the fact remains that wireless users are not being provided adequate service when compared to other broadband access.

In addition wireless users are paying up to 28 times the price per GB when compared to the top plans available to ADSL and Cable. Surely the provision of wireless does not cost 28 times more than ADSL/Cable does.

I have been writing to the Telstra CEO, my member of parliament (pre election) and also on Telstra Exchange blog (http://exchange.telstra.com.au) comments and Whirlpool Forums (http://forums.whirlpool.net.au) about the service differences between the delivery methods.

Broadband is the service, while ADSL, Cable and Wireless are the delivery methods, wireless is only a different method of providing broadband, it is not a different product on its own. Telstra reaffirms this on their web site defining broadband as

‘What is broadband?
Broadband is fast internet. Simple as that!
Broadband internet access is often just shortened to ‘broadband’. ADSL, ADSL2+, Cable & Wireless are all types of broadband available from BigPond.’

(Ref: http://bit.ly/c4GTv1 – 9/9/2010)

To give an idea of the difference costs for both services let me illustrate it by the following;
ADSL/Cable has 200GB available at $69.95 so that is 35c per GB
Wireless has 10GB available for $99.95 so that is $9.95 per GB

On the Blog post at http://bit.ly/9iDy6d, written by Telstra employee Rebekah O’Flaherty
Rebekah says:
And clearly I’m not alone. From video-rich entertainment to social networking sites, Australians are spending more and more time online. In fact, the average Australian internet user spends 17 hours per week online, which is a 28 per cent lift from 2007[1].

and also

At Telstra, we certainly recognise that our customers’ needs are changing. With information, entertainment and news being enjoyed across multiple devices in the house, it’s not surprising that consumer demand for speed, simplicity and value from their broadband is growing.

However as indicated above this does not apply to wireless users. Do wireless users that use wireless as a fixed service not want to enjoy the richness of the Internet also? Are we not also Australians that want to spend more time on the internet? The request for fairness and better wireless plans is all that has been asked for. At the same time like for like plans are not being requested, most wireless users would be happy with 30GB to 40GB for the same price as Telstra’s/Bigpond’s top ADSL/Cable plan prices.

On the 28th July Rebekah comments that ‘We value your feedback and will take it into consideration for future developments – yes, including the requests about wireless

However there has been no communication, no response to questions raised and no further information about wireless plans at all from anyone at Telstra to wireless users.

On the 3rd August Rebekah provided further responses to questions raised, but again there were no answers to any of the wireless questions raised.

On the 2nd September a member on Whirlpool forums advises that he has been provided with an extra 5GB for a total of 15GB for $99 for wireless, this is for him only. If they can do it for him, then why not for all. While 15GB would be better than 10GB it is still insufficient for a final top quota for wireless to enable wireless users to enjoy the richness of the Internet.

We are a family with one teenager and two younger children. We are stuck on wireless with a 10GB limit at full speed, this barely gets us to day 15 on our monthly cycle, so the remainder is 64kbs per second, barely enough to use the Internet. We cannot watch videos online, we cannot let the kids play games online, we cannot video call our family via Skype or MSN, we cannot view large photo gallery sites, we cannot download much from the net, we have to tell family not to send us big files, we have to restrict our daily use. However ADSL/Cable users can do all of that and more without worrying about where and how much quota they are using (up to 200GB).  ADSL/Cable users (top plans) are also soon to be provided a new shaping speed of 256kbs, whilst wireless is again not included in that (http://bit.ly/av3Cxv – 9/9/2010).

I have done as much as I can get to a response and better service from Telstra/Bigpond but it would seem our views are not wanted, our feedback is of no value and our custom is not really wanted.  While we can sit and wait for the NBN, the fact is that it will be up to 8 years before it is rolled out to everyone, so that is too long to have to wait and be stuck on 10GBs.

I request help in having Telstra providing fairer internet access for all broadband users, no matter the delivery method to allow all wireless users to use the internet and enjoy it just the same way ADSL and Cable users can.

Yours Sincerely

– END –

Again if you want to support me in my quest for a fairer wireless service please feel free to comment and/or suggest edits to my letter by the 12 September 2010.

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One Response to “An open letter to Telstra, the TIO and others”

  1. Mark Ereira Says:

    In response to gwmbox and his petition to both TELSTRA and TIO I concur with all of your well articulated expressions in trying to receive a proper and fairer outcome for discriminated against wireless users, I enclose your closing remarks gwmbox.
    I request help in having Telstra providing fairer internet access for all broadband users, no matter the delivery method to allow all wireless users to use the internet and enjoy it just the same way ADSL and Cable users can.

    Mark Ereira ( mark.ereira@bigpond.com)

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