Gathan Beaga

no-man's land in the telco wars

Apparently we live in no-man’s land.

I wanted to sign up for TelstraClear’s new residential line rental service, and get fast internet at the same time. We’ve been happy customers of theirs for tolls for over six years now, and it’s been generally a good experience. Their service is fine and their prices pretty competitive. And it’s always nice to support someone other than the main player – generally in any marketplace where service amongst the various competitors is comparable I always like to use someone other than the obvious, near monopoly brand as a way to support diversity. (In other words I go for the underdog.)

But because of some weird-arse decision by the Telecommunications Commissioner, this new residential line rental service and/or fast internet can’t be offered to by TelstraClear to people who live within 100 metres of TelstraClear’s own cable network. People like us, in fact. This evening we’ve been told by TelstraClear that we can’t have it (a week after I thought I successfully signed on to the service).

This wouldn’t be such a problem if TelstraClear wanted offer us their cable service (it’s quite sweet – home phone, cable TV, plus fast internet in one bundle). But for some reason they’ve never quite explained to me (despite my asking on three occasions now), they won’t let us or our neighbours on either side have it. I imagine it’s got something to do with the local topography, but even so, it would be nice to know.

In order to get fast internet then, I must contract with yet another outfit (there are several options). But I’ll end up with three telco bills per month instead of my present two. On the other hand, at the moment Telecom are offering free installation and cheaper plans than most of the market. And it will all be on a single bill.

Guess what’s starting to look attractive…?