Telecom extends its 'naked' broadband plans to include UFB fibre
UPDATE / July 8: Telecom has expanded its 'naked' broadband plans (those sold without a homeline) to include UFB fibre.
Like Vodafone, it's offering the keenest deals to those who give it their mobile phone business, too.
If you have your mobile with Telecom, you get $20 off.
Including that discount, Telecom's naked fibre plans range from $55 (matching Vodafone's price) for a 30Mbit/s download speed account with an 80GB cap to $109 for 100Mbit/s with unlimited data (see Telecom's pricing page here).
Telecom will manage traffic 'if we need to' on new unlimited broadband plans
April 23: Telecom is taking another stab at uncapped broadband plans.
Broadly speaking, it's a positive that our largest ISP (it holds around 50% of the retail market) has decided to promote unlimited data. I hope it works out well.
But given the company's patchy track record in this area, it's worth taking a look at the fine print.
Telecom says it will manage data, at times, on its new unlimited data broadband plans, launched today.
"We will look to manage traffic if we need to," spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton says — "manage" being ISP-speak for some forms of data being slower to download than others at certain times.
"We believe the responsible approach is to actively manage the network rather than letting it grind to a halt. Any management will be to ensure the best experience for the greatest number of people on the plan. It’s likely that would mean prioritising time-sensitive traffic — for example, Skype, gaming, web browsing — over non-time sensitive traffic such as P2P (peer-to-peer file sharing services)."
There’s no fair use policy on the plan, Ms Fullarton says.
The question is a key for the ISP. In 2009, Telecom was fined $500,000 and paid $8.4 million in customer compensation over a previous uncapped broadband plan, Go Large, which was advertised as “unlimited data usage and all the internet you can handle” but in reality saw data throttled when the network got busy.
Telecom was open about throttling its next attempt at uncapped internet, its Big Time plan, but the power users were turned off by the policy. Few signed up, and Big Time was quietly put to sleep in late 2010.
More recently, Orcon has been in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority over its $99 uncapped broadband plan. In the wake of the ASA complaint Orcon scrapped its fair use provision, and its CEO tell NBR customers could download terabytes of data a month if they wanted to.
Telecom's new unlimtied broadband plans start at $99 for ADSL copper broadband users (the price point established by rivals CallPlus and Orcon). An unlimited data UFB plan costs from $109 to $139 (faster plans cost more); an unlimited data VDSL plan $119.
The renewed uncapped data push contrasts with new CEO Simon Moutter's earlier statement that with all services becoming data-centric, unlimited plans were problematic - it would be like a power company giving away electricity.
However, he now has some wiggle room. In the US, ISPs commonly have uncapped data, but charge more for faster plans - as Telecom is doing with its $109 uncapped 30Mbit/s fibre plan and its $139 uncapped 100Mbit/s fibre plan.
On the face of things, Telecom's pending broadband TV service (currently being renamed) will give it a potential point of difference. The pay TV service will be open to customers of all ISPs, but Telecom will have an edge if it offers it unmetered to its own customers (although that advantage will diminish the more that migrate to an uncapped plan).
Less trumpeted, but also notable is that Telecom's refreshed broadband pages also give more prominence to its naked broadband plans (broadband without a home line), which were soft-launched late last year.
Telecom is also offering naked broadband through its new budget ISP brand, Big Pipe - which also offers uncapped data on all its plans, which range from $66 to $99 depending on speed. Big Pipe doesn't offer any UFB plans.