iHug has launched a nationwide ADSL service with unlimited downloads for an all-inclusive flat monthly fee.
The new iHug Ultra unlimited broadband service offers unlimited downloads across a 256Kbps/64Kbps ADSL connection for $79.95 (US$51) per month, or with a 512Kbps/128Kbps connection speed for $99.95.
The New Zealand-based ISP also offers the same connection speed with a limited download of 500MB for $49.95. Excess downloads are charged at 11 cents per megabyte. This is comparable with limited download products offered by its competitors: OzEmail offers a 256Kbps service with 400MB of included downloads for $48.95. Telstra BigPond charges $59.95 per month for the same speed service with 500MB of monthly downloads.
Heavy users also have the option of a 1500Mbps/256Kbps service, available with either 1.5GB of downloads per month for $124.95 or as an unlimited service for $129.95 per month. Users incur a $129 set-up fee. Modem and hardware costs are additional.
Like many independent Australian ISPs that have launched unlimited broadband services in recent months, iHug will be using Comindico’s IP network to service broadband customers outside of NSW.
Comindico officially launched its wholesale DSL product in March this year, promising its customers unlimited download capacity.
iHug marketing and sales manager, Ben Foote, said ADSL customers in NSW would access their service via the ISP’s own network. Foote said iHug was using Comindico where its own network configurations did not offer the scope for unlimited access ADSL services.
As its hardware hubs were based in Sydney, it was more cost effective for iHug to deliver its broadband services using its own network infrastructure, he said.
iHug launched its ADSL service in Sydney in November last year, with plans to introduce a nationwide service in May 2003. Foote said the decision to introduce an unlimited product was in line with its nationwide relaunch of the broadband service.
iHug general manager, Gareth Bissland, claimed the plans offered by iHug were far more generous than those currently offered by Telstra. "Due to the high Telstra wholesale prices to access the ADSL network, $79.95 is as low as we can go at the moment - Telstra needs to move their wholesale prices for the market to come down further," he said.
Although the ISP was yet to offer its existing iHug dial-up or telephony customers an across-the-board discount for signing up to ADSL, Foote said NSW customers would be offered a $30 voucher off their first month’s bill if they joined up to any of its Ultra ADSL services.
Other discounts might be introduced at a later date, he said.
To compensate customers who are unable to access its physical broadband network, iHug is also supporting its new broadband ADSL service with a satellite broadband product.
The Ultra 30 satellite service offers customers 2GB worth of downloads per month and 30 hours worth of Internet access for $49.95, or with 300 hours worth of access for $59.95. Customers incur a $249 set up fee and a $180 installation charge.