Stonecutter’s Ridge is being built as a Telstra Velocity neighbourhood. So what does this mean? All of our services – phone, internet, free to air TV, Foxtel – all of it, will be delivered via fibre optic cable by the ‘courteous’ people at Telstra. At the house, this is then split up into phone, Internet and Pay/Free TV signals. All of this runs across the single fibre at the same time.
Many people complain that this monopolizes our neighbourhood and keeps us from choosing our own provider. I’d have to agree. There is no alternative, because the phone line comes via the fibre as well, so you can’t even get ADSL with anyone else. You’re at the mercy of Telstra’s poor customer service AND outrageous prices. I’ve used Westnet and iiNet and loved the download quotas and service I received. I’m a little apprehensive about having to deal with Telstra – after all, it was their fault our internet was disconnected two weeks early when moving out of our old place.
When we first discovered that Stonecutters was going to be a Telstra Velocity I was, admittedly excited. Fibre optic? High speeds which were, theoretically, faster than ADSL2+? Sign me up. But then I read the finer details. No chance of switching to another provider, internet speeds capped at ADSL2+ speeds, and…the plans were twice the price of comparable quotas with other providers!? Not just other internet providers, but even compared to Telstra’s OWN ADSL2 plans. I was not happy.
Fortunately, Telstra was forced to review it’s pricing structure – partly because of a review by the Office of Fair Trading and partly due to the threat to break up the corporate goliath that is Telstra. As of 2010, their plans are now in line with comparable ADSL2 plans, at least from Telstra.
But it does have its advantages. Because all your services, including free to air TV will come through cable, not a single home in the neighbourhood will have a rooftop antennae cluttering the place up. Plus, you take weather and line of sight receivers out of the equation. Remember those days that your TV picture would break up? It’s no longer an issue.
After watching what might happen with the Velocity network over the last six months, I think I’m starting to come around again to the idea of a fibre optic connection. As for Telstra? Not so much.