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  • Opinion, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:19 - 83 Comments

    TPG’s $69.99 unlimited plan shows the NBN future

    opinion The $69.99 unlimited plan revealed by cut-rate ISP TPG yesterday shows what the future of broadband plans on the National Broadband Network will look like, and it’s not good news for premium ISPs such as Telstra, Optus and iiNet.

    Right now, Australia’s cadre of major telecommunications companies are doubtless holding repeated internal meetings as they try and determine just how their pricing models, both external to customers and internal financial modelling for their own profitability, will need to be modified under the drastically changed telecommunications regime being swept into place by Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network project. The conversations are probably going a little like this:

    At Telstra, the company’s executives are probably focused on two main objectives. The first is the need to retain customers under the NBN. There are millions of Australians who have been locked into Telstra’s services for decades now by default, and Telstra wants to make sure it doesn’t lose these customers as the once-in-several-generations NBN migration kicks off. The second objective is all about profit and locking those customers in future — bundling as many services together as possible, from mobile to pay TV to broadband to home phone lines to PVR boxes in the loungeroom — so that Telstra can charge each household one colossal monthly fee.

    At Optus, the conversation is looking fairly similar, but as always with Optus, it’s a watered down version of the Telstra conversation. Despite the fact that it has let smaller, more nimble rivals such as iiNet take up its challenger mantle in fixed line broadband over the past decade, Optus still likes to think it’s Telstra. Consequently, in the NBN world, Optus wants to retain its existing customers and force-feed them mobile bundles, pay TV and other services.

    Over at iiNet, the conversation is a little bit more humane. Don Malone and his youthful team are kind of like the vampire Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer — evil, but oh-so-lovable. Under its shiny Generation Y exterior, iiNet is still the same kind of profit-focused dastardly corporation as Telstra and Optus. You can see this vividly demonstrated in the rapacious way the iiBorg has assimilated rival after rival over the years — from AAPT to Netspace, from TransACT to Internode. But like Spike, iiNet’s such a cute, friendly kind of evil that you can’t help loving it, and so under the NBN it broadly wants to continue doing what it’s been doing for the past two decades already — giving customers decent products and services at a premium price, while screwing Telstra as much as it can under the table and buying up scale.

    Now, if you were a fly on the wall in these meetings, no doubt you would believe that the rollout of the NBN isn’t going to fundamentally change many of the dynamics of Australia’s telecommunications industry. The Big Bad, Telstra, will continue along its merry evil path towards national dominance, the Little Bad, Optus, will continue to try to do the same in its own usually inept way, and the Good, iiNet, will continue to challenge both.

    But what if all three are wrong?

    There’s also a different conversation happening at another major ISP across town right now. A more brutal conversation. A more cut-throat conversation. A conversation about taking no prisoners. An Ugly conversation.

    Yesterday Australia’s fourth major ISP, TPG, gave the first indication of what its own internal National Broadband Network conversation looks like. And it’s a simple message. Unlimited downloads per month. Unlimited local and national calls. Unlimited international calls to some countries. All for just $69.99 per month. The only catch? Your NBN speed will be limited to 12Mbps — close to current ADSL speeds.

    Now at a cursory glance, it’s easy to look at TPG’s first NBN plan and be pretty blasé about it — after all, it looks basically like the company has just taken its existing ADSL pricing infrastructure and ported it into an NBN world – a not dissimilar approach from the ones taken by Telstra, Optus and iiNet already. Plus, the 12Mbps speeds are not very attractive. This was initially my view of the situation yesterday.

    But considering TPG’s first NBN effort in a bit more detail overnight, I came to the conclusion that it was actually something far more significant than that. It’s the first step in a slippery slope of price cutting in an NBN world which will result in significantly cheaper broadband services.

    When it takes weeks to get an ADSL connection set up at a new premise, it makes sense to sign up with an ISP with good customer service like iiNet. When certain content is only available through certain telcos, it makes sense to sign up with a premium telco like Telstra. And when you want a bundled mobile and broadband deal, it makes sense to go with a combination deal from a company like Optus.

    But in the NBN world, so many of these factors disappear. The reliability and latency of Australia’s brand new National Broadband Network constitutes a step change in technology from the previous generation of ADSL and HFC cable networks. Changing providers will be a matter of minutes. Broadband downtime will be almost eliminated. The opening up of mobile networks such as Optus’ 4G infrastructure to wholesale access means every telco will be bundling. And every type of content will be available through every broadband connection over the Internet.

    When broadband becomes as reliable as electricity, what we’re left with, is a telecommunications environment where price becomes the only differentiating factor between ISPs. And TPG’s release of its first unlimited NBN plan yesterday represents the first shot fired in that war. In June this year, I wrote:

    “… in an NBN world, where the underlying broadband infrastructure will be so much more reliable and so much faster and more responsive, there will be no need for customers to pay the premiums which ISPs like Telstra, Optus and iiNet currently enjoy, when basic broadband access is already so fantastic. And with the world of content suddenly at their virtual doorstep, there will be very little need for that content to be piped into Australia with a big fat extra profit margin slapped on top by local ISPs.”

    “If I think about the world of the NBN, I think about signing up with TPG or Dodo for a 100Mbps plan that will probably offer me a terabyte of quota for something like $50 to $60 a month. Because when the fibre cable running to my premise will be so fantastic, there will be no more need to keep paying top-tier ISPs insurance money to ensure a steady service or for value-added products; that reliability will just come built-in, and the best value-added broadband products will come from global suppliers.”

    TPG hasn’t yet revealed its higher speed NBN plans. But one can easily imagine what they will look like. If the company is able to sell unlimited 12Mbps plans for $69.99 a month, it doesn’t seem like much of a step to conclude that it will probably be eventually able to sell unlimited 25Mbps plans for $79.99 a month or slightly more. And that will be a price point which many people will quickly sign up for.

    Or, perhaps it will go the other path, and offer customers higher speeds, but included quotas, for $69.99 a month. Say, a 300GB plan with 100Mbps speeds for $70 per month. Wait, Exetel already did that, so TPG will need to offer a better deal. Say, a terabyte of quota, with 100Mbps speeds, for $70 a month? It’s not hard to see that Telstra (with its 500GB, 100Mbps plans for $130), Optus (with its 500GB, 100Mbps plans for $129) and even iiNet (with its terabyte, 100Mbps plans for $109.90 — including its Internet phone line) will just not be able to compete with TPG at current pricing levels.

    There is also significant evidence that what TPG is offering is just what customers are looking for. Yesterday, fuelled by thousands upon thousands of people looking for information on TPG’s new NBN plan, Delimiter had one of its biggest traffic days on record, a situation we didn’t experience when Telstra, Optus, iiNet or anyone else released their NBN plans.

    And it’s a little-remembered fact that TPG is the only one of Australia’s major ISPs to have predominantly grown its customer base through organic customer demand for its products. TPG didn’t inherit its customers by virtue of being a former monopoly telco, as Telstra did, it didn’t win its customers when it was the only second telco in the market, as Optus did, and it didn’t buy its customers through acquisitions as iiNet did.

    No, TPG signed up most of its current customers by blanketing Australia with marketing campaigns for its cut-rate broadband products. Customers deserted higher-priced telcos in their hundreds of thousands to migrate into its arms. And now TPG is going to follow exactly the same strategy under the NBN, but with most of its weaknesses (lesser customer service, content and bundling options) removed from the equation due to the NBN’s inherent technical advantages and the willingness of mobile telcos and content providers to share their assets.

    The Good and the Big and Little Bads should watch out. Because when it comes to NBN ISP choices, things are about to get Ugly.

    Image credit: TPG

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    1. Paul Krueger
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink |

      It good to see the beginning of TPGs strategy. Thin margins, entice customers, force actual competition.

      Remember the days when a 20gig plan cost $80? Tpg Purchased pipe and everything changed.

      I am currentlyon a tpg unlimited plan, but I am limited to 4mb/s due to my copper.

      Where do I sign?

      • Thrawn
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

        I don’t know if I’d call TPG ‘thin margins’ ..

        Its EBITDA is 2.5 times higher than iiNet on slightly lower revenues.

        TPG is a very low cost operation, but its certainly not thin margin… at least not with their current business despite being significantly cheaper than iiNet in ADSL.

      • Randy Andy Pandy Bolt
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink |

        I left a review for TPG here – full of foreign call center incompetence and bullshit.


        I would not give a fuck if they were half the price – I’d rather pay more to get a reasonably good standard of product and service, because bottom dollar companies usually end up costing way more in the long run.

        What? Their rates are like $25 cheaper per month – that that results in 19 phone calls, over 6 days, through 34 departments, with 73 people, taking 12 hours of my time? Fuck off.

        Their stupid bullshit has just cost me $600 in lost time and productivity.

        The cheap shit costs, also gives a cheap shit service, run by cheap shit staff, and moron management.

        TPG has APPALLING customer ratings – give them a big fat fucking miss.

        • Duke
          Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink |

          Soooo… what are you trying to tell us butch?

          I am on TPG unlimited adsl2, live on the Central Coast, have rock solid 24/7 12 to 13 mbs download speeds and have had occasion to contact their helpdesk twice in five years, both times with very good results.

          I shall not take your f…ing advice, do go back to Whirlpool, theres a dear…

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink |

            Butch, dear? hmmm

            Do you find it necessary to insult anyone who has bad experiences with TPG? Do you have a religious or romantic attachment to them?

            • Asmodai
              Posted 20/09/2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink |

              And on the flipside you have this


              I said years ago on WP that the NBN would result in massive consolidation of the market in one of two ways.

              1) Big ISP’s would buy the customer books off smaller ISP’s who could no longer afford to have signficant nationwide presence

              2) Big ISP’s (predominately Telstra) would continue to be vertically integrated after a fashion reselling access to the POI’s much like they sell access to the CAN. After all, BPuddle owns the most backhaul and will have considerable bandwidth and presence in POI’s.

              There is a significant cost involved in maintaining a nationwide presence under the NBN that smaller providers will have difficulty meeting, particularly if high tier provider cut their margins even thinner than they currently are. And as you note Renai, TPG have a considerable amount of small text that substantially tarnishes what, on the surface, looks like a good deal…

              Oh yeah, in reply to Steven re: no internet censorship on the NBN, points of aggregation are the single greatest place to put deep packet filtering and data retention equipment. Years ago, this would be considered tinfoil hat thinking, but given the stupid policies Labor seem to run after, relying on them to not use their big shiny network as a convenient way to funnel people in to their filters etc is not that big a stretch.

              NBN, good idea by people who, apart from Craig Thompson, couldn’t organise a root in a brothel with a fist full of 50’s…

              • NBNAccuracy
                Posted 20/09/2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

                Just selected a random and unrelated place to post this?

                “I said years ago on WP that the NBN would result in massive consolidation…”
                Wow, good call. You prediction the ACCC would increase the number of POI to cause this?

                “Oh yeah, in reply to Steven re: no internet censorship on the NBN, points of aggregation are the single greatest place to put deep packet filtering and data retention equipment”
                Yer, that would be the same as the current points of aggregation wouldn’t it.

              • Posted 20/09/2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink |


                Considering Telstra’s copper aggregates at 14 POI’s now + another 2 dozen for other companies (Optus, TPG, iinet etc) and NBNCo’s aggregates at 121….doesn’t that make this mythical data filtering HARDER under the NBN??

                Please, this is utterly tin foil. It always has been. For the government to filter at these POI’s about 2 dozen amendments and a whole new privacy law would have to be written. Do you think people are just gonna shake fists, like they are at the current data retention, for a law that would completely remove their privacy rights on the internet???

                • Mathew
                  Posted 23/09/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

                  Data filtering is much easier. The entirety of the filtering can be done on the NBNCo controlled network, whereas at the moment it would need to be installed at each RSP.

                  • NBNAccuracy
                    Posted 23/09/2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink |

                    Sorry, but you are incorrect.

                    • Posted 23/09/2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink |


                      NBNAccuracy kind of beat me to it.

                      NBNCo. cannot implement an internet filter, even if forced to do so. All filtering would have to take place at a minimum at each RSP’s switch in each POI. That’s 121 POI’s x number of RSP’s. OR, at each RSP’s POP. Same as now. This is because to even get the web address, or DNS lookup, which is the thing on the filter list, an IP address has to be readable. This is only possible at a Layer 3 level- ie beyond the NBN network.

                      Nice try for your first post in a while to bring the NBN into disrepute though Matthew…..

          • Poo2
            Posted 29/09/2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink |

            Nooo not offended…

            In terms of BADNESS – thay are kind of exceeding Telstra, and that is in the first 15 minutes.

            I signed up, gave them my bank details etc… up and running, then they give me a call back a week or two later, the guy says there is no record of the phone number that they just accessed to ring me on.

            And my personal and bank details provided – TO create the account – in amongst all the fighting with them and the TIO – they send me an email asking me to tell them what my credit card number is, just so they can debit some monster bill – that I do not owe – because they can’t / won’t / are scamming / and don’t / can’t use the direct debit option, that was the way they were supposed to take the monthly payment by.


            The bullshit rattles on for a while – AND they call in the debt collectors – the bill has jumped from $100 – $200 after one month of use and then their getting sacked – the debt collectors demand $700, and 6 weeks later, in the email, TPG is demanding $320.

            A HUGE “fuck you” to TPG – those foreign call centers are full of criminals and idiots.

    2. Michael
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

      Respect for revising your opinion, i think a lot of tech commentators underestimate the importance of this plan.

      I personally think TPG will only offer unlimited plans on the NBN. They recognize the “fat pipe” concept more than any other ISP and i cant remember the last time i saw them actually advertise a non unlimited broadband plan. They aren’t bothered with rubbish like “freezones” and custom routers that perform worse than readily available ones. Instead of bundling rip off voip services they deliver voip to the customer in a way that requires no extra hardware.

      This is the first time since adsl2 where we can actually buy plans based on speed, as the infrastructure hasn’t been reliable enough in the past to guarantee speeds. As it stands now no one (not even really heavy users) need 100mbit speeds, unless they are in a big household of heavy users. By offering unlimited at each price tier and pricing accordingly (i would expect 100mbit unlimited to be $150+ a month) people will get the speeds they need at a reasonable price.

      I think this is a great example of why TPG is the real innovator compared to Iinet. While iinet buys customers tpg buys infrastructure. They now are in the unique position of owning a huge domestic fibre network, and their own international cable.

    3. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink |

      I dont see this as the NBN future at all and I stopped reading at:

      “The only catch? Your NBN speed will be limited to 12Mbps — close to current ADSL speeds.”

      This all goes back to the whole shaping issue, remember this is the NBN where we will have 100/40mbps speeds and beyond, is there any reason why our shaped speed cant be 12/1mbps? Watch iiNet go down this path, yeah I’m calling it. So you get your 2tb 100/40mbps (or 50/20 whatever) plan and then shaped to 12/1mbps, which is unlimited and then there is the 12/1mbps unlimited plan for the filthy poors. It all makes sense.

      • PeterA
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

        12 megabits per second is *still* 1 megabyte per second downloads.

        With fibre, a lot of the instability is gone.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be getting a 50 megabit or better plan without delay, but 12 megabits is still genuinely fast internet. (and a lot faster than a good number of Australians have access to right now – and most of them are paying 70 dollars per month with a cap).

        • Harimau
          Posted 19/09/2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink |

          Currently paying 85 for ~4M/384k (on a RIM) and ‘enough’ quota. I’ll happily take 12M/1M at 70 bucks a month for unlimited, at this stage. And that’s not even taking into account the savings on the telephone line rental.

          Having said that, by the time the NBN rolls out to my area I’m sure there’ll be 100Mb plans with practically unlimited quota at roughly the same price as what I’m paying now.

      • Annoying Old Fart
        Posted 21/09/2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink |

        12Mbit is about 400 times faster than my poxy 3G wireless broadband, and infinitely greater quota, for less than twice what I’m paying now. If I’m not going to be charged a connection fee, an account fee, a service fee, a “green data” fee, bring it on!

    4. GongGav
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink |

      It takes a big man to realise they made a mistake Renai, bravo.

      Yesterday I commented that on the surface a jump from an effective 6 Mps to 12 Mps isnt a huge step forwards, and I stand by that. But, as you say, when you suddenly get a 4x jump in effective speed for $10 more, then its a different story. Which is what the 25 Mps plan offers. People will make the mistake of thinking 25 Mps under NBN is no difference to a 24 Mps ADSL2 plan purely because the promised numbers are so similar, but it shouldnt take much to show how wrong that can be.

      The other aspect, and one that should become a bigger and bigger issue, is the phoneline side of things. Either a skype setup, or an all you can eat style like TPG will be standard. For $20. not $20 plus call costs, but $20. And for most, thats an extra savings ranging from a couple of dollars through to $30, $40, $50 or more a month.

      Suddenly, $70 a month along with a phone line, is a damn fine deal, and very comparable to what we pay right now in an ADSL2 world.

      I think the extra to that will still be content providers. If Netflix or Hulu got on board with Telstra, and they offered unmetered content, then thats a dealmaker right there. Telstra, if they are smart, should be concentrating on locking in those services if they want to maintain their monopoly.

    5. Mike Echo
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink |

      Great article, Renai, a good read. I’m more interested in their higher speed plans than I am the unlimited ones, because a great deal is not a great deal if it doesn’t suit your usage pattern.

    6. Alex_D
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink |

      TPG is definitely doing the right thing here.

      With the dawn of the NBN, all ISPs really should drop the whole idea of limited monthly quotas.

      Some plans offered by some ISPs have a monthly quota so small you could rip through it in one hour at NBN speeds! Some people are going to be in for a nasty shock when that happens, particularly if the ISP charges exorbitantly for exceeding the quota.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink |

        “With the dawn of the NBN, all ISPs really should drop the whole idea of limited monthly quotas.”

        Yes, because it’s not like the $20/Mbps CVC cost needs to be factored in at all…

        • Alex_D
          Posted 29/09/2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink |

          They should all have unlimted quotas, and charge for different access speeds.

          • Posted 29/09/2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink |


            That’s not feasible. Not unless you want to pay $120 a month.

            • Alex_D
              Posted 29/09/2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink |

              Maybe I’m unrealistic, but I’m kinda thinking a bit further down the line. It’s only going to get cheaper and cheaper, just like regular ‘ol broadband did. Early adopters pay the premium, then competition and improvements in technology drive the price down. I’m never going to pay $60 a month again, not even for NBN speeds. When it’s lost the “all new latest-and-greatest glossy wow factor” and it’s dirt cheap, then I’ll sign up. Until then 1.5 megabytes.p.s will do me just fine.

              • Posted 29/09/2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink |


                We may get to a time in 25 years or so where 100Mbps WILL be unlimited for $60 a month. But certainly I think it’s unlikely before then. It’s not even really feasible until then under the NBN pricing structure allows the CVC to drop significantly as data throughput shyrockets.

      • Mathew
        Posted 23/09/2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink |

        Considering that the fibre costs the same regardless of the speed, it is the data that should cost.

        • Posted 23/09/2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink |


          And yet you regularly argue it is the CVC, ie. the DATA, that will kill the NBN pricing…..which is it??

    7. Wok
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink |

      Does this $69.99 include the ‘line rental’ component as well.

      If it does, I think this is great value. As much data as you can use with free local & national calls.

      The speed might not be the quickest but for a lot of us stuck with inferior connections, 12Mbps would be a miracle we can only dream about !!

      • Michael
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

        No such thing as line rental on the nbn ( although tpg do call it that on their marketing) But yes that price includes your phone connection as well.

    8. Craig
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

      The pricing problem with the NBN is that it’s so much more expensive then comparable ADSL/Cable plans.
      I have 200Gb on 100M Bigpond cable + home phone for $78/mth. Similar plan under the NBN (Internode plans) is $150/mth. Hopefully we’ll be amongst the last to be NBN’ised
      The problem is that the wholesale rates are all the same, so the retailers (TPG, Telstra, Optus, Internode, etc) won’t have much wiggle room on price. The reason ADSL prices dropped was because there was wholesale competition, especially with the DLSAM rollouts.

      I hope I’m wrong. But with a $42b+ cost to be repaid by a monopoly network owner, I don’t see how prices will be able to drop.

      • Posted 19/09/2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink |

        Craig, I’m sorry, but you need to review your research. Over 75% of NBN plans are CHEAPER than current ADSL. Those that aren’t, the majority are on par, with slightly better deals overall, such as those below.

        Look OUTSIDE Telstra.

        iinet- NBN2- 100Mbps, 200GB quota $79.95 + $10 for VOIP (includes all local and National calls)
        Exetel- 100Mbps, 300GB, $70 + $15 VOIP (Including 250 Local/National calls a month)
        iPrimus- Fibre MAX Intense Starter, 100Mbps, 200GB, ALL calls (including to mobiles) included for $80 a month over the life of the plan.

        Your problem is you’re looking at Telstra. Telstra have THE WORST NBN plans. Why? They make more money off their own network. Why would they give incentive for people to go to the NBN with them??

      • Paul Krueger
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink |

        Craig, how is $70 (tpg) more then $78 (your telstra plan?

      • Alex
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink |

        Craig, if I could get the deal you are on I would sign up now…but!

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink |

        Don’t you have to have a full service Homeline phone as we all? Another $30 give or take?

      • Ben Zemm
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink |

        Your $78 plan was a super special, since that same plan is over $100/m for a new customer now. And it is only 2mbit uploads. I’d prefer a 50/20 connection over a 100/2 one any day. Hell, even 25/5 would be better for a lot of my purposes.

        That said, I was tempted by the offer when it came out, on the nicely printed card. But charged uploads, dynamic IP and the bother of having to get “the cable guy” out were cons. That and my pregnant-with-twins wife prevented luxuries like Ultimate Cable, when TPG ADSL2+ works well enough. (Our twins are now four months old. How time flies)

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink |

        I’m on the same plan as you (200Gb Cable) with Telstra, but, it’s $100 a month and only 50/2 (down/up). You must have gotten the price you have on a special?

        For the same money, iinet offer 1Tb at 100/40, or I could go for the same quota and speed I have now and save $25 a month.

        You need to compare the standard pricing with the standard pricing (not Special deal Vs standard price) to see the value.

    9. Posted 19/09/2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink |

      I think the biggest thing about this plan is it is poaching the market that Telstra and Optus have artificially created by NOT offering 12Mbps plans on the NBN.

      There will hundreds of thousands of mum and pop type households that just want the best phone deal and standard internet. They don’t want huge speeds. They don’t want to care about quota/shaping/extra downloads. They just want a simple bundle that gives them everything they need, including most phonecalls….

      ….oh hi TPG….

      • Mathew
        Posted 23/09/2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink |

        Except that it won’t deliver revolutionary speeds that enable all the great applications promoted by the government like eHealth.

        • Posted 23/09/2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink |


          I said hundreds of thousands. Not millions. These people won’t GET these services anyway, until their newer generation forces them to. This is not changing the point behind the NBN. It is providing a market that Telstra and Optus have artificially locked out with their >25Mbps plans.

    10. just_a_bloke
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink |

      Considering all the complaints I see from TPG’s DSL customers on Whirlpool, stemming from excessively high back-haul contention ratios, I would rather pay $10 a month more for my service from a “better” ISP even on the NBN which level’s the playing field somewhat.

      • Duke
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink |

        That would be the few dozens of forum posters, like the ones on every isps forums there, as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of customers then?

        • just_a_bloke
          Posted 20/09/2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink |

          I’ve worked for the ISP I use and know for a fact they dont skimp on backhaul, router’s etc and they dont charge the earth. Plus because they specialise in my region, we have a local help desk and I still get 200GB for $60 p/m (Naked DSL)!

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink |

            What is the reason behind their inordinately high number of users (compared to other ISPs) experiencing incredibly slow speeds, especially in the evening? Just really, really, really, really, allmost impossibly unlucky?

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 20/09/2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink |

          No it would be the hundreds posting where other ISPs of similar size have none. It would be the run arounds and lame excuses they give for evening slowdowns. The lack of the word congestion in their vocabulary. The number of users that get sick of it churn, come back to the TPG forum and say their slowdowns have simply vanished on the new ISP.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 20/09/2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink |

          If you can’t look at the TPG forum and objectively see the difference between it and say the Internode forum I think you must have gone beyond rose colour glasses that are translucent to ones that are completely opaque.

    11. Posted 19/09/2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

      I like the way plans are going and even if you don’t go with TPG their moves will force others to bring their prices down.

      The NBN only levels the network field within the NBN network. Once you get onto the ISPs own backhaul then differences come into play. If TPG can cope with the huge number of customers they entice then it will be worthwhile.

      The company that really kills the market is going to be the one that offers a great deal like this from TPG but with no or very small penalty for leaving early if the network isn’t up to scratch. If the company doesn’t try and force you to stay then I would certainly give them a try.


    12. Jeffrey ONeill
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink |

      While I agree in general that the NBN will cause an euqalisation amonst RSPs, a differentiator in service will be CVC capacity.

      I would think it’s quite likely a TPG or Dodo is going to buy less CVC capacity at POIs when compared to a premium RSP.

      I would also think Telstra / Optus / IINet would find it easier to say bundle a netflix style service for customers compared to smaller RSPs.

      I think scale is going to become very important in the NBN world.

      • NBN Choice
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink |

        “I would think it’s quite likely a TPG or Dodo is going to buy less CVC capacity at POIs when compared to a premium RSP.”

        As I have mentioned in the past, this is not likely. Customers do not put up with crap, and the longer term ramifications of doing so (bad reputation and sustained customer churn) do not bode well with a staggered rollout such as the NBN. Get a bad name in year 4 of the rollout and its going to be very costly.

        TPG and Dodo both have different aims within the internet marketplace.

        TPG are about offering low cost internet services through basic sales offering, with the view that you can maintain the company margins by always being ontop of some next big new thing to dominate ‘that’ market. Notice that TPG offer some of the lowest cost internet, still do lots of advertising, and yet are one of the most profitable (as a percentage of their revenue) ? Next we will see the cloud based services from TPG, as well as business-back to home connections (part of a corporate VPN, etc).

        Dodo are a sales and marketing company that are about offering low cost internet, and mobile, and phone, and wireless, and power, and everything else that is a service. The aim is to build customer relationships and have those customers purchase lots of different services from you. The cost is maintaining the relationship with the customer – bundle a bunch of services and the cost to service each customer drops dramatically. Again, customers wont buy rubbish, so the service will be good.

        These are both ways these companies are able to offer low cost internet services to the market. Being a company that just sells internet, financially makes it very hard to compete.

    13. Anthony
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink |

      I’m surprised no one else has said anything thing about the little disclaimer at the bottom stating “Up to 12Mbps”

      TPG covering for internal congestion?

      • Guest
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink |

        i pointed that out yesterday and it appears it was ignored.
        i still wouldnt take this deal even though its cheaper than my current plan. tpg suck. their customer service and contract stuff is complete crap. id go telstra before i went with tpg. hell, id even consider dodo if i hit that low.

        • Duke
          Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink |

          Tried them then eh? If not your opinion is irrelevant…

          • Anthony
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink |

            Was with TPG for the past 2 years or so.

            Reasonable… Single thread performance somewhat lacking though.

            Enjoy Internode much more (the 60ms to us drop in ping is nice to)

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink |

            I haven’t but thought of going with them. I would have tried them too if they didn’t lock you into a contracxt period. Reason I didn’t? I didn’t want to be one of the unlucky ones who have problems.

            I managed to find someone who was on the same exchange as me, with similar sync speeds. They were on a TPG DSLAM. They thought TPG were great. Always got full speed. Result? We tested some downloads from local and overseas websites. They were very confused that I didn’t consider the 40-50KBs they were getting was good. They inderstood when I told them I was maxing out my connection on each site getting 1400KBs. They were just used to those speeds.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink |

        “TPG covering for internal congestion?”

        Nope. TPG aren’t guaranteeing 12Mbps because it’s nearly impossible to do so – so that disclaimer saves their butt from the ACCC who cracked down on false advertising earlier this year [IIRC].

      • GongGav
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink |

        The NBN (sadly) still has that “up to” portion of its speed. Originally it was meant to be “at least” rather than “up to” but something changed along the way. Ah well, what can you do?

        The difference between fibre and DSL though is that DSL suffers terribly from distance while fibre doesnt. So if you connect to a 12 Mps service with FttH you should GET a 12 Mps connection, give or take. DSL cant guarantee that so you see the massive drop off from advertised speed to reality.

        Point being, with DSL they can hide behind the copper lines and use that as an excuse. With FttH there are no excuses, and you will very quickly see whether the problem is the ISP or not. Make no mistake, there are some very savvy people out there that will figure it out, and people will leave in droves.

    14. Steven
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink |

      With all due respect Renai, you seem to be missing that the last mile connection is just that – the last mile. Just as with ADSL now, once your data reaches the POI and enters the ISP’s network their bandwidth and equipment purchasing practices will have a big impact on your internet experience… having a reliable high speed last mile doesn’t remove those differences, it magnifies them and makes them ever more obvious.

      It’s also hard to agree with the conclusion that low cost unlimited providers will be the death of providers who charge more for seemingly less, since the same thing has been predicted for the last decade…

      • Core
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink |

        I agree, there seems to be a lack of understanding on how the internet works.

      • Rob
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink |

        I totally agree with Steven’s comments about Renai forgetting about the ISP’s own internal infrastructure. Yes the last mile issues with be resolved with the NBN. However I don’t think that’s TPG’s biggest problem. The last mine is a problem all ISP’s face with the current copper infrastructure. With an improved last mile it will mean even more users being able to connect at a guaranteed 12/25/50/100Mbps. This will just compound any internal infrastructure contention issues an ISP has as users bandwidth demands increase.

    15. Steven
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink |

      TPG also weren’t as averse to mergers and acquisitions as you seem to believe – SPT, Comindico, Chariot and dozens (or more) of small ISPs acquired by Chariot have all helped make TPG what it is today.

    16. Jason
      Posted 19/09/2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

      iInet has never been a good player in the industry

      i rate it more evil then telstra or optus

      iInet buys out its competition to reduce threats

      • Vitman
        Posted 19/09/2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink |


        • Vitman
          Posted 19/09/2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink |

          And why is TPG buying iinet shares then?

          • Michael
            Posted 19/09/2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink |

            Strategic investment at least according to financial reports. Iinet is basically a badly run tpg (same number of customers, similar revenues but 20 percent higher costs). They offer better service levels (hence 20 percent higher costs) but don’t squeeze the required extra revenue. Just because they own shares doesnt mean they intend to buy out Iinet. From a shareholders perspective its a nice hedge (at this point in the game iinet and tpg customers are fairly mutually exhaustive of the available customer base, those still with optus/telstra are likely to stay) and has potential to grow . Iinet still have plenty of fat to trim in internode, kindof westnet and definitely transact (a company wide redundancy email wouldn’t go astray there).

            I don’t really see Iinet as evil though, they are very good at buying poorly run ISP’s and giving them economy of scale. Their only problem is they have run out of really shit ISP’s to buy and are and have resorted to paying too much for Internode, and tackling a huge network design issue with Transact.

      • Duke
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:26 am | Permalink |

        iinet, the Apple of the isp crowd, shiny, shiny, shiny with issues under the white plastic…

        • Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink |

          I’ve been with iinet for 8 years in 4 different houses.

          We’ve had 1 or 2 issues, but making it clear we weren’t impressed and suggesting there are many other deals out there was enough to solve all of them within an hour or 2.

          Not really had any issues. A few years back their contention down in my area was pretty ordinary, but they’ve vastly improved now and I only rarely get slowed down a heap.

          They’ve always offered us the better plans when they’ve come out and they’ve credited us when things have gone wrong. They’re not perfect, but compared to how we were treated on Telstra before that, they’re practically angelic…..

          • Randy Andy Pandy Bolt
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 1:36 am | Permalink |


            On the old dial up, for 80 meg a day, for 4 hours a day for 28 days coming to about 2.3 Gig – UseOz charged about $7 with the call costs, Telastra charged $314.

            With the phone cards, I could ring the other side of the world for 1c a minute – 10 years ago, Telstra charged $25 for 1 hours call, to the nearest town that was 70Km away.

            Telstra’s customer service, their fees and charges and the gouging by the fist full of dollars – All BAD.

            Telstra vs. TPG? It’s like comparing pink icing coated dog shit to yellow icing coated dog shit.

            Neither is desirable.

            • Vitman
              Posted 20/09/2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink |

              Yup as an ex Bigpond and TPG customer I can relate to that.

          • Vitman
            Posted 20/09/2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink |

            I went from TPG to iinet and a vastly better internet experience.

    17. peterg
      Posted 20/09/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

      no one mentioning the mandatory internet censorship that comes with the NBN?

      and as a TPG customer, there is definately a single thread 1500kbps limit on a 8000kbps rural ADSL/Telstra line.
      it sometimes improves to full speed for a few months, then goes back to warpo again.

      an honest system would have a traffic page to investigate. I do not plan to phone them all the time to waste everyone’s time.

      and I have had similar eratic performace isseus all the way back to Telstra’s first “unlimited” ADSL.

      that said, if forced onto the NBN, this plan would suit me, with my own voluntary/mandatory VPN.

      • Steven
        Posted 20/09/2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink |

        “no one mentioning the mandatory internet censorship that comes with the NBN?”

        Probably because there’s no such thing… the NBN is completely separate from internet censorship (and data retention, and any other “won’t someone PLEASE think of the children” policy they come up with).

      • Posted 20/09/2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |


        What Steven said. The NBN has nothing to do with Internet Censorship and makes it no easier now than once the NBN is in place.

        NBNCo. are a separate entity from the government. They may be overarchingly controlled by the government, but the government have ZERO power to interfere with the running of the NBN as a network. That breaches constitutional rights.

        • peterg
          Posted 21/09/2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink |

          news to me and encouraging. seems like Ill stay with TPG if and when the NBN comes 1km up a country rd to service 6 households.

        • Mathew
          Posted 23/09/2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink |

          NBNCo reports to the government. The government can and does tell NBNCo what to do.

          Uniform infrastructure controlled by a single entity (NBNCo) will make it technically easier to filter the internet. I’m not sure that we do have a constitutional right to a non-filtered internet. In fact our current internet is filtered.

          • Posted 23/09/2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink |


            See post above and try again. The NBN is layer 2. Filtering has to happen at layer 3, or at an RSP’s POP, same as now.

            Please stop spouting half truths. Or in this case, full untruths.

            • Reticulan
              Posted 26/09/2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink |


              When you said “Filtering has to happen at layer 3″ this was the only true thing you said in your comment.

              If you understand how the Internet works then you understand that a layer 7 message must be able to be reconstructed from a series of layer 2 frames, that’s a how message gets from one application to another via the Internet. It is encoded at each step down and decoded at each step up. Thus all data from layer 3 and above are inside a layer 2 PDU. This data can be decoded unless protected by encryption.

              Technically it is possible to copy the traffic on optical fibres especially when you have easy access to the endpoints, because that is all the normal endpoints of fiber are doing anyway.

              Thus any civil surveillance program will simply reconstruct as many layers as it wishes by intercepting layer 2 traffic, at whatever rate is economically justifiable by government, which (since you are paying for it with your taxes) is virtually unlimited.

              Saying “NBN is layer 2″ is not even false, it is irrelevant. They interconnect at layer 2, but all layers by definition are handled within the network. Perhaps they will be handled more than you prefer.

              • Posted 26/09/2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink |


                I am well aware of the OSI model. However, do you believe that NBNCo. would be parcel to the government intercepting their own traffic without informing the public, giving whatever government department was in charge of filtering all information, the decryption key freely? You’re free to believe so. I however do not and would not do so without considerable evidence.

                My point still stands the NBN makes filtering no easier unless you believe it will be done without our permission and NBNCo. would have to be integrally involved. If you truly believe that our government would essentially overnight turn into the North Korean or Iran government and filter the net without telling its people, hoping we won’t notice…..I’m afraid there’s nothing I can say that would convince you otherwise.

                Filtering can happen right now at any exchange in the country. They would simply require the decryption key from Telstra/Optus/whoever. The NBN makes that no different. And no, I do not believe that because NBNCo. is government funded and mandated, they can therefore do what they like people are people. Free, democratic people are not going to simply lie and look the other way about a gross violation of rights. And there would be hundreds of people who would have to know if not thousands.

                By the way, I’m aware Telstra and Optus filter a few hundred sites. Considering there are people out there that make it their business to try and access all possible sites available, particularly ones believed to be filtered, unless they suddenly began to ‘disappear’ you’ll forgive me for being content we are free to view whatever content we wish. And I’m not interested in the the slightest in the sites that are currently filtered- they contain material I do not wish anyone to have access to. Those who need access as part of investigation s or genuine research can get monitored access with permission.

                We are a free and open democracy. We struggle sometimes and there is the occasional stumble, but unless you believe we will go over night from open democracy to rigid dictatorship or rank communism….. I’ll continue to worry more about whether the NBN will actually be built than whether it can be used in some giant conspiratory to make sure we don’t know we have no access to the real information about the true pay packets of our politicians….or whether we get that vaguely offensive episode of Family Guy from next week etc.

                • Posted 26/09/2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink |

                  Regarding from a technical standpoint- you are quite correct. NBN being Layer 2 makes no difference to filtering capability. Perhaps I should have made that clear, as you say.

                  However, the logical choice for filtering location would be the aggregate points- POI’s. In the NBN there are 121. Now, there are (likely) less (seeing as Telstra have 14 and they encompass over 65% of the market). Therefore, it is actually likely slightly HARDER to filter using the NBN infrastructure, although only in terms of higher outlay for equipment.

                  This makes no difference to my previous point however. Unless you believe the NBN is all about the government gaining control of all Australian’s communications…..well, I’ll leave that one there. I don’t really have time nor the will to argue conspiracy theories….

                • Reticulan
                  Posted 27/09/2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink |

                  Hello seven_tech,

                  > the NBN makes filtering no easier unless you believe it will be done without our permission

                  Hey genius, do you think Telstra phones up drug dealers and asks their permission to record their conversations for the feds? All it takes is for the government to start treating the general public the same as suspected criminals. Enticing the majority of Internet traffic through the government’s own network just makes it technically easier.
                  Yes easier, because when they have 121 POIs to put filters at they have distributed the traffic more widely and so the interception devices at each site do not need to be nearly as powerful to cope with the load. Easier because instead of putting their filters physically into a private sector node, they are enticing the private sector traffic into a set of purpose-built government nodes.

                  > and NBNCo. would have to be integrally involved.

                  Yes, that’s why the government set it up.

                  > … And there would be hundreds of people who would have to know if not thousands.

                  No, that’s why the government set it up – as a one stop shop. Very few people in NBNCo will even know it is going on. Even if they did, every corporation in the country is required to assist law enforcement in “investigations”, no choice about it.
                  Please also note, and I have this from someone who was well placed in Telstra to understand the telco environment, that it is an AFP requirement for carriers that “any traffic scenario that cannot be intercepted must be blocked”. All carrier networks are already designed for interception from day 1. That’s how the AFP and ASIO do their jobs.
                  For NBNCo to be “integrally involved” would be nothing new. You admit as much yourself in your 3rd paragraph, and yet you insist :
                  > “Free, democratic people are not going to simply lie and look the other way about a gross violation of rights.”
                  Of course they are, and so are you. The list of encroachments the public has turned a blind eye towards is as long as your arm.

                  We have no right to privacy or free speech, but we do have a right to trial by jury in Section 80 of our Constitution. It is one of the very few rights granted to us by that document. But right now there is a fellow currently rotting in a Tasmanian prison who was incapable of committing the crime he was convicted of, and despite being sentenced to life in prison, has never had a jury trial. That’s a fact. And the violation of this person’s rights occurred in full view of the public and national media, and everybody turned and looked the other way.
                  Of course you have no idea who I am talking about because you are repeatedly and emphatically “aware” of so many irrelevancies.

                  A broadband network as a government project was completely unnecessary. If there was any demand for it, the private sector would have built it without being asked. Perhaps you’d like a free market to go with that “free and open democracy” that you’re so proud about.
                  The enticement to use the NBN wholesale comes from greater public consumption of trivial services such as video-on-demand, and that is about it. Anything else you could use it for, such as hot backup co-lo, has commercial solutions already. Forty-three billion dollars for nicer Youtube videos, and this is the government’s gift to the people?? Get real. Ask yourself what the government gets out of the NBN. It’s not money, it’s not even votes because Barry Sixpack doesn’t know how to legally utilise 24Mbps let alone an OC192. What the government gets out of this project is more power.

                  But I can tell you’re the kind of guy who loves Big Brother. You’ve certainly made enough red-herring excuses for them. Well Big Brother is going to have your greatest hits on constant replay.
                  [ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-26/police-insist-tougher-data-retention-laws-needed/4282156 ]
                  It does not matter that you personally have nothing bad to hide, privacy is the ability to retain control over your life. It is purely a matter of faith that their present powers will always be used for good, and in the last 3 years they have been asking for more.

                  It does not matter if the government appendages of today have no inclination towards a hellish totalitarian state. What about the next government, or the government after it? But no, you are literally more keen to see the network is built than spare a thought for what it will be used for.
                  Once you have built all of the machinery of a turnkey tyranny, you are living on borrowed time.

                  • Posted 28/09/2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink |


                    Your post borders on insulting. And also irrational. However, I will say a few things:

                    NBNCo’s 121 POI’s are more than there are now. So it would be physically harder to filter than now, with the 40 or 50 POI’s that currently exist. I already said this.

                    The idea that the government setup NBNCo. for a primary goal of filtering the Australian internet is one of the most outlandish things I have heard in a while. I know that won’t mean anything to you however.

                    You have someone well placed in Telstra telling you……what? That if Police ask they must give them access to metadata on telecommunications? I already knew that. I don’t have a problem with it. It allows them to track persons of interest. I MAY have a problem with it being kept on everyone for 2 years however.

                    You’re absolutely right I don’t know the man you’re talking about. If I should, perhaps you can enlighten us and we can get a campaign together. Or at least figure out if he actually deserves a campaign. That is what is good about a free country- enough public pressure gets things done.

                    The NBN was necessary for many reasons, of which I’m not going to go into because it will be talking to a brick wall by the sounds. Why are you reading about the positive aspects of the NBN (good value plans) if you disagree with it? Shouldn’t you be over on Bolt’s blog whipping up support for a ‘burn the NBN’ rally?

                    Big Brother disgusts me. I watched the 1st ever episode when I was 16 and without my parents even telling me it was disgusting, unnecessary and pointless, I turned it off. Big Brother a la George Orwell, which you mean, is of more concern for me more towards the data retention currently planned. By the way, if there’s a giant conspiracy to filter the internet and spy on us all through the NBN and privacy groups are going nuts just over metadata retention…..don’t you think they’d be going ape poopie over that???

                    By the logic that is not knowing that the NBN could be used for by a ‘future totalitarian type government’- we should not have electricity. After all, a future totalitarian government could use it as a blackmail to get us back to menial labour paid at $2 a day and gruel every evening or cutoff our heating and lights…..

                    OK. I’m done now. I will continue to be concerned about data retention, a real public concern about data and privacy and you can continue to believe the NBN is a giant spy network. I’ll think of you briefly if the Coalition win and do scrap it- ‘he must be much less stressed now’ I’ll think….

                    Apologies Renai if that skirted close. I was a little bit exasperated…..

              • just_a_bloke
                Posted 26/09/2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink |

                Any filtering will happen at ISP level, as an ex ISP employee I can tell you that there isn’t a top10 ISP in the nation that doesn’t have a serious DPI box in their data-center!

    18. Posted 02/10/2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

      I am really impressed along with your writing skills and also with
      the format for your weblog. Is this a paid topic or did you modify
      it your self? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

    19. Posted 03/10/2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

      Wоω that was odd. I juѕt wrotе an гeally long сοmmеnt but aftег I
      clicκеd submit my сommеnt didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not wгіting all
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      Αnyways, just wanted to say gгeat blog!

      • Annoying Old Fart
        Posted 03/10/2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink |

        Spammers never sleep…

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