Primus reveals 300GB NBN plans


Primus Telecom today revealed its National Broadband Network pricing for the early roll-out sites in Tasmania, with the ISP’s top plan featuring 300GB of download quota at 100Mbps speeds for $139 when not bundled with an additional internet telephony line.

The company will also offer the same 300GB plan at slower speeds of 50Mbps and 25Mbps for $119 and $109 per month respectively. It will cut some $10 off those monthly charges if customers also sign up for a separate internet telephony phone line, with line rental starting at $24.95 per month.

The 300GB quota will be split into 80GB on-peak and 220GB off-peak chunks, with the off-peak period being between 12AM and 12PM.

All up, according to Primus’s general manager of marketing and products Andrew Sims, the ISP will offer around 12 broadband plans to customers in the early rollout towns including Smithtown, Scottsdale and Midway Point.

Customers will be able to choose a variety of speeds and match those with a variety of monthly download limits to achieve their desired price point. For example, Primus will also offer plans with 15GB, 40GB and 130GB monthly data allowances. When customers exceed either their off-peak or on-peak allowances, their connection will be shaped down to 128kbps.

Primus will also offer some bundled plans — for example, it has plans starting from $89.95 a month that will include local, national and mobile calls as well as 25Mbps speeds.

One of these bundled plans, the iPrimus Max FTTH plan will be available half-price for the first six months, meaning customers will only pay $44.97 per month for those months, with line rental on Primus’s internet telephony offering included and set-up and a wireless router being included free of charge. Customers will, however, need to sign up for a two-year contract.

The most basic plans will start from $39.95 per month for 25Mbps speeds with 15Gb of data allowance. The plans with data allowances below 300GB will offer peak hours of between 10AM to 2AM.

Sims said Primus had received “quite a decent reception” to the plans when they launched in Tasmania this morning, with the ISP’s call centre receiving positive feedback from customers — some of whom have already signed up, although at that stage Primus had not revealed the full extent of its NBN plans, only issuing a brief press release.

For example, the initial statement didn’t include any mention of the 300GB plans.

So far, preliminary NBN plan offerings released by other ISPs such as iiNet and Internode appear to be similar to their existing fibre plans in greenfield estates throughout Australia, while rival ISP Exetel appears to be taking an approach of pricing its NBN plans on a ‘pay as you use’ basis — with data charged per GB.

Image credit: Vince Varga, royalty free


  1. Wait what. Thats a bargain… If I spend an extra $24.95 for Line Rental I get $10 off. Who came up with that math model.

    • I can’t see how any telco can get away with charging for line rental on a VoIP service that costs them nothing to run, but that’s just me I guess. Voice is an application these days like anything else. Do people charge for running a web browser over a network? No. Interconnection costs to the PSTN or to mobiles is the only reason voice should attract costs.

      • Hi Renai,

        Generally, much of the cost to the carrier providing the voice service is in the back end. That is, redundant, carrier grade soft switches along with the various interconnects, transit and termination agreements with 3rd party networks such as Telstra and Optus.

        While I agree with you that the cost base for these types of operations should be substantially lower than that of a traditional telco operating a CAN – it certainly doesn’t cost ‘nothing to run’ as you mention.

        Going on this, I suspect you’ll find carriers such as Primus, Optus et all are attracted to offering VOIP services due to the lower cost base and in the short term this will amount to higher margins for the telco, not lower pricing for the consumer. However as competition heats up in this space we’ll see prices come down, as it’s obvious that these guys have at least some space to move on pricing.


        • You’re right, Jas, of course it does cost something, but that will obviously scale as well. I guess what I am really objecting to here is the transparent approach of simply taking PSTN pricing scales and applying them to internet telephony services … it seems to me that that is a flawed approach and that there would be significant profit in there that the telcos could skim off the top, without the users realising the cost of the service is not as high as the price comparison with PSTN would suggest.

      • It costs because every time your mum/cousin/uncle/whoever calls up and bitches about their bill, someone has to be there to answer the phone :S

  2. Has anyone else wondered how other service providers will find a path into these homes and business if the first provider delivers a 100Mbps service. I am sure that the aim of the NBN is to open up a broader range of digital services, applications and content delivery mechanisms as compare to that offered today. I would also have thought we want to broaden out the type and nature of service providers that consumers can deal with. Going to be a bit hard to realise these aspirations if the first guy in the door gobbles up the full access capacity.

    Also should we be locking up so much access capacity for business models that can really only make full use of such capacity between the propertu and the Point of Interconnect. I think it unlikely that ISPs will have the capacity to maintain such access further towards the core given the continuing question of backhaul costs.

    • hi Jim, are you saying that other service providers won’t be able to use any bandwidth into people’s homes because the 100Mbps is being used? My understanding is that services would run on top of the underlying transit being provided by the ISP, not alongside.

      • Renai,

        Like many who have replied to this string you assume that this is all about faster access to the internet and that all future applications and content will flow from the internet via your ISP to you as is the current world. The NBN opens up a whole new world where if the business model works large service providers (not ISPs) across the economy can and will likely set up as a retail service provider, buy access from NBN Co. Limited and provide a direct digital service to the consumer (eg IPTV, Government services, health sector and professions). Using a VLan approach each retail Service provider and the associated application and content providers they support could own and operate a path into the property. The 100Mbps capacity is sliced up and feeds these VLans. Bit limiting if the first person in the door takes the entire capacity for a single service type. We need to stop thinking in today’s terms of broadband where this is provided by an ISP and all applications are a subset of connection to the internet.

        The NBN will provide an ethernet based access platform into each property and there are likely to be varied and many different uses for this over an above a connection to the internet. Think of how government and business use LANs and WANs to enable a range of applications and services and now extend that concept into the home and small business.

        • The NBN will be mostly PON based, with (likely) 2.5GB’s downstream to support 32 premises or ~80Mb per premises if it was dedicated last mile access (but it isn’t, its shared).

          HOWEVER, its important to remember a few things:

          1) Nowhere near 100% will take up 100Mb services. Even if NBN has 100% take up and has an even 33/33/33 split between the speed grades, thats still under 2Gb. In reality, they won’t have not high a take up of 100Mb services.

          2) Even if they DID have 100% take up of 100Mb services, residential services can be significantly more contended then you might think.

          3) The Implementation Study actually says we should use fibre “Home Run” in highly built up areas, with PON in the less built up areas. If this was done, then from the POI to each premises is capable of many 100Mb services at once, without contention.

          So even IF everyone had 100Mb services, there is actually enough bandwidth for other services… and not everyone will have. In future, PON has upgrades to 10Gb (from 2.5Gb) so when speeds increase in future so will the PON backhaul.

  3. Is it just me or do none of those plans seem like overly good value. At the moment I would much prefer to keep my current plan.

    Hopefully Primus will be the exception rather than the rule and other more reasonable plans will surface as the NBN stretches into other areas

    • I would say that quite a few of the plans offer comparable value to current ADSL and HFC plans, and you also have to take into account the much improved technology you’re dealing with — fibre vs copper. I would certainly sign up if I was in Tasmania.

      But I do expect to see even more improved plans as the years roll on and the NBN gains in maturity.

  4. That high end 100mbps / 300gb download / no bundled phone for $139 sounds like excellent value.
    I currently pay approximately $170 / month for the iinet Home-7 plan which is ADSL2+ (so <24mbps) with 200gb / download with an enforced monthly phone charge.

    Under this new plan, my internet would be: cheaper, higher speed, higher data cap.

    • One question I’m wondering is, Andrew — how many top-end users like you are there out there? I’m a pretty heavy internet user and I’ve never really broken through a few dozen gigs per month. I guess if you had a family it would be a little different — and obviously the same, potentially, in a work place. But I kinda feel most of the market is going to be going for services with much smaller download limits.

      Maybe I’m not watching enough StarCraft II matches in 1080p on YouTube ;)

      • *chuckles* it’s not just 1080p videos on youtube… it’s also all of the endless linux distros that I download ;)

        In seriousness, though, I think that 1080p streamed video is going to be the semi-end game here.
        I mean, as someone who does download a lot of TV episodes, I would /love/ to not do that. I would much prefer to pay $x / month for unlimited, streamed, high def TV with no advertising content. To enable that, we are going to need to see FTTP with high download caps.

        I believe that within a few years, we are going to finally start seeing hulu & rhapsody like services here in Australia and along with those, the need for high speed, high data transfer connections. While we may not see huge increases in offshore traffic, I think we will see a lot more internal traffic as video services (like fetch TV and I’m sure other incoming competitors) start putting CDN nodes in various ISP’s.

        When I say semi-end game, I mean that eventually we are going to see streaming 3D and >1080p content.

        • +1, I totally agree with this.

          Also, btw I used to spend a lot of time downloading Linux distros myself … Fedora got quite large with multiple DVDs etc. These days I am a lot more pedestrian and basically only ever use Ubuntu if I am using Linux at all …

  5. One the fibre network is rolled out, the existing dsl providers will lower their price to entice people to stay. Sure there will always be high-end users who want to be on the bleeding edge, and done care too much about the costs, but the majority of users, are going to want it for around the same price of existing broadband services, or why bother changing.

    Inorder for the takeup to be what the government is hoping for, so that they get their return on investment in 25 years, the pricing will have to be alot better in my opinion, else people will just stay on copper based broadband services.

    • Actually Moocow, my expectation is that the copper network will be rolled back to make way for the fibre — at least that is what has previously been discussed, as far as I remember. Of course, it all depends on the Federal Government’s talks with Telstra and so on. But I don’t think they want to leave it there in the ground to provide cheaper broadband services.

      This is what will likely get around the pricing problem of which you speak.

  6. And what is to bet that this will be the same as the other ISP’s pimping their 100 meg plans…..with 1 or 2meg upload.

    People need upload these days, heck I would drop 50meg off my download to get a 50meg upload….

    Especially when it comes to business, their business plans had better have a decent upload capacity, or its going to be painful!

    • hey Andrew, apparently NBN Co is offering three upload speeds, 2Mbps, 4Mbps and 8Mbps, to be tied to the three download speeds, 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps.

      So yes, things are looking pretty good in that regard ;) I also expect ISPs to offer business plans with much more symmetrical plans as well.

      • And there is the assumption that 8Mbps is good?

        Look at the trends these days, the internet is NOT download oriented anymore.

        Online gaming, youtube video posting, video conferencing, p2p filesharing (Legal or otherwise), email, web 2.0.

        I believe there was a whirlpool thread a few months ago that had some insights from the management of iinet, where they indicated that the amount of traffic on their network assigned to users uploading was approaching parity with the amount of data downloaded.

        So how can you suggest that a 100Mbps download coupled with a paltry 8Mbps upload is pretty good? You show me any business that would not want synchronous speeds for their internet access. Even from the point of view of running your email server in house, as most companies do. A lot of our emails are sent at large file sizes, so not having the server filling my outbound pipe with emails would make me one happy man.

        Please, stop assuming that people do not require uploads. It is a complete fabrication.

        8Mbps != good.

        • Sorry Andrew, I don’t quite believe just yet that there is a real demand for upload speeds higher than 8Mbps … perhaps when people start storing their entire documents folder on Dropbox … ;)

          Sure, for some users, YouTube being one example, but how many people are there like this?

          • Sorry Andrew, I don’t quite believe just yet that there is a real demand for upload speeds higher than 8Mbps …

            If only I had as much as 8Mbps upload speed. 25-50M would be amazing, and make a world of difference for uploading pictures and videos and sharing data.

          • I’m still skeptical, myself. Sure, big business requires those kind of speeds. But small business? I don’t really have many problems uploading video now … and of course I don’t have anywhere near those speeds.

  7. There’s nothing on the Primus website about any fibre plans. What’s the point of releasing plans by press release only without placing them also in the real world?

    • Hi Drew,

      Press releases are a great way to draw positive attention to yourself without actually having to do anything. Certain ISPs within the industry have become quite proficient at this.


  8. ” internet telephony phone line, with line rental starting at $24.95 per month ”
    Time this ” line rental ” crap was dropped ! and is that for VOIP? already got the line for net why pay for it again? crazy !@#

    • No kidding, my thoughts precisely. Paying line rental for VoIP is an absolute joke in 2010. Charge for the off-ramp interconnect, yes, but I don’t see how telcos can get away with simply taking the same PSTN line rental prices and applying them to a completely different technology.

      • It isn’t quite VoIP as its usually meant- it is VoIP backend but delivered to the analogue voice port (a VoIP ATA) built into the ONT. So its set & forget, obtainable without an Internet connection (nominally), won’t suffer from congestion on your internet connection (not that you should have any at 100Mb ;)) and doesn’t use any data.

        Its VoIP for the masses…and I think thats worth a slight premium, albeit not $24.95 worth of premium.

  9. surprised to read this news, i am living in sydney and not able to get even 1500kbs ADSL1 line into my home (due to pair gain system). so 100mbs is far from my mind now. i am crying to get 1500kbs ADSL line only in sydney metro.

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