news National broadband provider Internode has changed its business broadband bundled plans to be identical to those of parent iiNet, in the latest sign that the Adelaide-based ISP will follow other iiNet acquisitions Netspace, Westnet, AAPT and OzEmail and become just another brand under the larger iiNet group.
When iiNet announced it would buy Internode in late December 2011, the two companies were careful to highlight their plans for the South Australian ISP led by well-known industry figure Simon Hackett to remain independent from its new parent. “This is another iiNet acquisition and Internode will just disappear, right?” stated a question posted as part of Internode’s frequently asked questions document for the transaction. “No, it isn’t,” came the answer from Hackett. “Internode will be remaining as a separate operating company within the group, with its own identity and its own staff. I am staying at the helm of Internode as is the rest of the management structure of the Internode & Agile company group.”
At the time, Hackett emphasised that his new status as a major shareholder of iiNet itself would mean that Internode would not “just disappear into iiNet without trace”, and that there was little reason for the company to harmonise its broadband plans and offerings with those of iiNet, as other companies subsumed into iiNet — such as Netspace, Westnet and AAPT — had in the past.
Since that time, Internode has maintained its existing broadband plan structure, with its business and consumer plans remaining differentiated from those of iiNet, unlike iiNet’s other ISP brands, which have harmonised their offerings with those of their parent. However, in a statement issued by Internode this morning, the company flagged plans to overhaul its broadband plan structure for businesses.
The media release didn’t mention it, but Internode’s new business bundles are precise replicas of iiNet’s existing business bundles. Both brands offer four bundles at $79.95, $99.95, $119.95 and $139.95 price points, and offering 50GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1000GB of quota. Each comes with a bundled telephone line offering included local and national calls. The new Internode plans also come with a precisely matched list of other features also listed by iiNet, such as 20 included email mailboxes, static IP addresses, priority business customer support and so on. Internode’s non-bundled plans also appear to have been harmonised with iiNet.
In its release, Internode product manager Phil Dempster pitched the new offering as delivering greater value. “These are perfect for businesses that want to get more bang for their buck from their communications spend,” the executive said. “As phone calls are a big cost to any business, our NodeLine Biz service provides great value by including local and national phone calls plus offering attractive call rates to mobiles and overseas.” The consumer offerings of the two brands still remain distinct from each other.
Over the year and a half since the acquisition, iiNet and Internode have increasingly tied their operations together. Internode’s chief technology officer John Lindsay, for example, migrated last year to the equivalent post at iiNet.
The news came after iiNet also announced the merger of the 3FL and games.on.net Internet gaming platforms which had separately been operated by iiNet and Internode respectively. The new merged platform was combine “the best features” of both and will retain the games.on.net brand name, according to an iiNet media release issued at the time. “By combining iiNet and Internode resources and staff, we can offer the latest news, reviews and interviews plus more than eight terabytes of files, trailers, mods and patches and a 10,000 player capacity,” iiNet chief product officer Stephen Harley said.
iiNet and Internode have also integrated a number of other areas of their businesses since the acquisition was finalised last year.
In March last year iiNet introduced Internode’s data blocks feature to its own broadband plan structure, and then several weeks later iiNet also dumped the on-peak/off-peak split of its broadband plans, offering customers the same base system as Internode has long promoted for its own plans. Both moves came after Internode announced its intention in February last year to migrate customers using wholesale offerings from rival companies like Optus and Telstra to iiNet’s ADSL infrastructure where possible. With similar moves occurring on iiNet’s end, the move effectively integrated the ADSL infrastructure owned by the two broadband companies.
I have known for a long time that iiNet would not be able to resist harmonising the product offerings of Internode with its own, and it looks like that integration is about to kick off. No doubt it has only taken iiNet this long because of the highly independent and successful nature of Internode as an independent business. But I don’t think anyone on a broadband plan at Internode should be under any illusions — Internode is definitely part of the iiBorg collective now, and will no doubt be fully assimilated shortly. Resistance is futile. Ah, competition in Australia’s broadband sector. We barely knew ye.
Image credit: Paramount (From Star Trek)