Once upon a time, practically every Australian was promised a National Broadband Network connection capable of reaching speeds of one thousand megabits per second. Fast-forward to the present and you're lucky to get one tenth of that, even on the fastest plans available.
Thankfully, iiNet has stepped up to the plate with a plan of its own that guarantees 1Gbps speeds, both up and down. The only catch is that it will cost you $799. Per month.
iiNet's new Fibre1000 plan does exactly what it says on the tin, delivering one gigabit of symmetrical bandwidth via iiNet's enterprise-grade fibre network.
It's currently being offered on a 36-month contract for $799 per month. That price excludes GST, incidentally - the real price is $878.90.
Over the course of the contract, this works out to a minimum spend of $32,739.30, which includes a $1098.90 activation fee. (Presumably, you can haggle the 30 cents to get the price down to $32,739.)
The NBN party is rolling down my street at the moment so I'm looking at what my options are when it comes to offers and plans. And it's all pretty disappointing. I live in an area where the best option has been HFC cable so I've had the option of either 30Mbps or 100Mbps connectivity. So, the lack of a faster option, which I'd gobble up in a hurry, has me wondering, where are the really fast NBN plans?
As you've surely deduced by now, iiNet Fibre1000 is aimed squarely at enterprise customers rather than online gamers. It's chiefly designed for businesses that wish to migrate seamlessly to cloud-based applications and large-scale hosted phone/SIP solutions.
"The symmetrical bandwidth means businesses can upload as fast as they download to save time where it matters and the easy to use online portal makes it possible to share 1000Mbps bandwidth as desired across voice, cloud, data or internet services for prioritisation and security," the telco explained in a statement.
In addition to its blisteringly fast speeds, the plan comes with unlimited data, 99.95% Service Level Agreement (SLA), 24x7x365 priority business support and a dedicated Account Manager and Project Case Officer.
While most people don't need a 1Gbps symmetrical bandwidth connection, it would be nice to have some NBN plans that remotely approach these speeds. As we have noted in the past, gigabit NBN plans are almost impossible to find at the consumer level, with most telcos capping their speed tiers at 100Mbps - and that's usually an unrealistic estimation.
For example, here's a look at some of the fastest plans currently available to consumers. (You can see the typical download speeds during peak usage times on each telco's website.)
As you can see from the above plans, 1Gbps - or even 100Mbps - is a luxury few Australians can afford. While cost is definitely a factor, the sad fact is that our copper-reliant network is unable to physically cope with speeds much higher than 100Mbps. (In many locations, the maximum speed is significantly lower.)
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like anything will be changing when it comes to home broadband. At the last Federal Election, the NBN was barely mentioned by either party - it's become a lost cause. But just imagine what could have been.
You can find out more about Fibre1000 plans over on iiNet's website. Bring yer cheque book.
Why are NBN plans capped at 100Mbps? Well, I guess the simple answer is that they actually aren’t.
It is possible today in some places in Australia to buy plans that are 150, 250 and even higher. But there are a couple of reasons why most ISPs don’t offer plans higher than 100Mbps, and why most customers aren’t buying them when they do.