Home Cornered! BigPond Cable upgrade - don't mention the speed
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Telstra has just announced plans to upgrade its HFC network in Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Perth to support download speeds of up to 100Mbps, but oddly it does not seem to be too keen to tell customers about it.

The ACCC, of course has come down hard in recent times on telcos for misrepresenting broadband speeds in their advertisements. And while - backhaul contention aside - ADSL is very distance dependent, cable is very usage dependent: the maximum data rate of 100Mbps after the upgrade has to be shared amongst all users on a particular co-axial loop.

Still, Telstra's latest promotion of the service seems surprisingly coy. After being in my current address for seven years and with Telstra HFC cables running down my street for the whole of that time I received yesterday what I think is my first every promo from Telstra for its BigPond cable service.

And guess what? Nary a mention of speed. Telstra boasted that it had "the best cable broadband deal in Enmore" but that claim was based purely on price and data volumes, there was barely any suggestion that the service might be faster than alternatives, just the statement: "If you've got a need for speed and want a whole lot of data...you'll love our new cable broadband offer."

Telstra is offering a package for $78 per month, including phone line rental, with 200GB of data on a two year contract, if I take up the offer by 15 December. It is advertising its new 100Mbps service at $88 under the same terms but with a Wi-Fi modem and "free professional installation of the service."

Neither of these necessary components are mentioned in the offer. However if I go to the Telstra web site forte offer (www.telstra.com/actually) there is a line that says "BigPond Ultimate Cable available to customers in selected areas of Melbourne (existing BigPond Cable customers will need to pay $149 for a Home Network Gateway)." So clearly what is being offered is not the 100Mbps service, which Telstra calls BigPond Ultimate.

If I did not know better, getting this brochure the day before Telstra goes public with its 100MGbps upgrade, I might well end up disappointed by signing up for a service and finding it gives me nowhere near 100Mbps.

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