More evidence of great Australian broadband rip-off

Australian broadband services are the third most expensive among OECD countries, and users are charged the most in the world for downloads after being capped, the organisation’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry said in a new report.


The OECD report said that Australian broadband prices came in at an average of about $US56 per month, with only Mexico at $US59.50 and the Slovak Republic at $US78 ahead as the two most expensive nations.


While Australian broadband customers typically are forced to buy plans where data usage is capped, this is far less common across the globe. The report, which detailed broadband statistics for December 2008, also said that “the percentage of offers with explicit data limits/bit caps is declining across the OECD. In September 2006 only 36% of observed plans had an explicit data cap.”


But Australian broadband users are still being charged the most for exceeding data caps. The OECD average charge for over-cap data downloads was US2 cents per megabyte on DSL, and US3 cents on cable services, yet the average Australian charge comes in at a massive US10 cents per megabyte.


But users have not been deterred by high prices, with the number of broadband users rising all over the world. The total number of broadband subscriptions jumped 13% during 2008, bringing the total number of subscribers to 267 million in OECD countries.


“The economic crisis has not significantly slowed broadband adoption. In fact, broadband growth during the last six months of the year was slightly stronger at 6.23% than in the first six months at 6.16%,” the OECD said.


The Slovak Republic, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, France and the US all recorded the biggest per-capita growth in subscribers.


The organisation said that fibre services now account for 10% of all broadband connections, with the technology most prominent in South Korea and Japan.


The former has the cheapest broadband services, with the OECD saying that “on average, subscribers in OECD countries pay 15 times more per advertised megabit of connectivity than Koreans”.

Meanwhile, former Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo has seemingly criticised the Australian Government’s own fibre network plans, saying the national broadband network may never happen.


“I haven’t (commented on the proposal) and I won’t,” he told The Australian. “I’ll comment in four or five years. Let’s see if it ever happens. We’ll draw a conclusion if it happens.”



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