The NBN is still years away for most people, so it’s with interest that we notice Internode spruiking the expansion of its ADSL2+ network.
The ISP recently put out this statement announcing it has greatly expanded the coverage area that it can offer its Easy Broadband plans across to Australian businesses. This has happened because of its merger with iiNet, meaning it now has access to 242 more telephone exchanges from which it can offer its Easy Broadband business service.
Why should you care? In a nutshell, this means two things: firstly, much better prices if you’re already an Internode business customer, or you’ve always liked the look of their service and have been thinking about switching providers.
Internode has two names for its standalone broadband services – Easy Broadband and Easy Reach. Easy Broadand has much better value, but it’s only offered where Internode has its own equipment (DLAMS) installed in your local telephone exchange. Where this isn’t available, you’re offered Easy Reach, which uses Telstra equipment.
You get much more bang for your buck on the entry level standalone Easy Broadband plan. This costs $49.95 and gives you 30GB. By contrast, on Easy Reach you pay $59.95 which only gives you 5GB. Value improves slightly for the next most expensive plan, but as you can see in the table below, move into more expensive plans you’re getting way less data with Easy Reach.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Easy Broadband also has speed advantages. Internode can give you Annex M if you’re on Easy Broadband – a feature that increases potential upload speed from 1 Mbps to 2.5 Mbps.
If you’re looking for more speed, you can go a step further: Internode offers SHDSL, which is a more expensive service that provides much more speed over the same copper telephone lines, at the same upload and download speeds – up to 40MBps for uploads and downloads with Extreme SHDSL.
In announcing its expansion, Internode pointed out that Extreme SHDSL is an upgrade option for Easy Broadband users. We asked them about this, and product manager Jim Kellet explained that the type of SHDSL depends on who’s equipment is at the other end. The fastest type of SHDSL they offer is only via telephone exchanges where their own equipment is installed:
Where Internode has SHDSL equipment, it offers Extreme SHDSL (up to 40MBps).
Where the SHDSL equipment is Optus, Internode offers Ultra SHDSL (up to 20MBPs).
Where the equipment is Telstra’s they offer Reach SHDSL (up to 10MBps).
For businesses that have outgrown ADSL2+ and won’t be getting the NBN for a long time, this is significant. As Internode explains on its web site, SHDSL’s main the advantage over DSL is the faster uploads speeds. The site also points out that SHDSL is not a “best effort” technology like ADSL: “If you are within 3 km of an SHDSL enabled exchange, a 10 Mbps Extreme SHDSL delivers 10 Mbps – in both directions.”
Internode advertises the key uses as high quality videoconferencing, voice over IP, transferring big files like CAD documents and medical files or connecting offices with virtual private networks.
It’s also expensive. At launch back in 2009, Extreme SHDSL ranged from $700 a month up to $4,000 for 40Mbps with unlimited data (Ultra SHDSL is cheaper). iiNet also offers SHDSL from $400 a month.
As such it’s not for everyone: Internode says SHDSL is for “medium” sized businesses. It positions the service between the cheaper ADSL and faster and more expensive optical Ethernet services.
There are other options though if ADSL isn’t cutting it for you. Over at iiNet, they’re offering “Bonded DSL” from $99 a month. You have to be on a Business DSL plan with iiNet get it, and speeds range from 10Mbps to 40Mbps depending on distance. Unlike SHDSL, upload speeds are a lot less than download speeds.
Then there’s the NBN: iiNet’s business plans start at $79.95 a month for 12Mbps download speeds (1Mbps upload). iiNet’s most expensive business plan give you 100/40Mbps with 1TB of data for $129.95 a month.
The NBN is clearly promising good value compared to other better-than-ADSL services out there, but you might be in for a long wait.