iiNet moves to qualm Optus ULL woes

Westnet and Netspace customers set to get new lease on life

Eligible Westnet and Netspace customers will be able to churn easily from Optus’ wholesale Unconditioned Local Loop (ULL) network to DSLAMs run by iiNet by the end of the year, according to staff at the Perth-based Internet service provider.

Several staff at the ISP confirmed the plans on the Whirlpool user forum as a “novel” solution that is currently being tested on a select customer base before being rolled out to a wider range. The process would see eligible customers currently on the Optus ULL network afforded the ability to move to ports on iiNet’s DSLAM equipment while being able to keep their own number or having to suffer downtime from cancelled internet access.

The change, once in effect, would also allow subscribers with the iiNet-owned Westnet or Netspace to move from “grandfathered” or previous plans to a Naked or better value ADSL2+ plans.

However, iiNet’s standard residential plans will only be available to those customers who connect to one of the approximately 330 exchanges across Australia that host iiNet DSLAM equipment, and where an ADSL port is available at the time of the churn. A further 55 exchanges have been slated for expansion of iiNet’s DSLAM network.

Others would be required to sign up to one of the ISP’s “Reach” ADSL2+ plans, which offer lower monthly quota and come at a higher cost to the wholesale pricing of Telstra’s network. The incumbent telco’s wholesale pricing has become a sore point for providers like iiNet and Internode, who continue to point to the uncompetitive nature of current pricing regulation in the sector.

iiNet’s chief executive officer, Michael Malone, was unable to confirm any concrete plans existed or the timing of such a process, but told Computerworld Australia discussions had been going on for two and a half years with a view to provide better offers to customers on “grandfathered” or previous plans.

“We’d like to do it at some point because the customers are kind of ring-fenced, we can’t really do anything with them,” he said. “The plans aren’t as competitive, and there’s no process to move from ULL to LSS (Local Shared Service), for instance.

“What you’d like as a customer is just being able to say ‘look, iiNet’s got new plans, either Naked or LSS-based, or even Layer 2’ and being able to say ‘I’d like to move to one of those plans’. Right now that’s not physically possible.”

According to Neil McIntyre, one iiNet representative, the plan could ultimately be rolled out to see all Optus ULL customers moved to Telstra infrastructure.

“All customers will initially be moved to Telstra ports, whilst maintaining ADLS2+ speeds,” McIntyre said on the forum. “Customers would then be free to choose from any of our ADSL1 home or Reach plans immediately. Customers who can be upgraded to our own ports will be automatically upgraded to an on-net port and migrated to one our ADSL2+ home plans.”

However, Malone said there were no plans to completely abandon Optus’ wholesale network.

“If there was a plan to move all the Optus ULL customers across I’m confident I’d know that,” he said.

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