Optus admits slow broadband problem


APC reader Michael Sanchez raised the alarm over the problem saying he had signed up to Optus Naked DSL based on Optus’ claim that once he reached his download limit his connection would only be slowed down to 128Kbit/s — enough for email and basic web access.

However he found that consistently Optus would slow the connection to half that rate – the barely usable speed of 64Kbit/s each time he hit his download limit.

“According to Optus’ Standard Form of Agreement (SFoA) the naked plans are supposed to be shaped to 128k when the data limit is reached” he wrote to APC.

“They are not however. Optus shapes all plans (7GB 15GB and 30GB) to 64k. They also provide the 64k figure to their tech support staff as I’ve had this repeated back to me a number of times until I got through the teadious process of click by click to get the rep to read section 4.2(e) of the DSL Direct Pricing Table.”
 
“I’ve been told that Optus senior technicians are aware of this and are working on it but they have no idea how long it will take to rectify and affected customers just have to deal with it.

“I raised this issue over a month ago and was given some ‘bonus’ data to return my service to full speed as a fix. I started on the 7GB ran it out and got 64k. Upped to the 15GB ran it out and got 64k.  Upped to the 30GB ran it out and got 64k.

“Surely it can’t take 5 weeks to change the shaping setting on the routers from 64k to 128k?”

When APC invited Optus to explain the company said it had made a mistake in its documentation and never intended to offer 128Kbit/s once customers reached their download limit.

“Optus can confirm that its Standard Forms of Agreement (SFoAs) on the Optus website incorrectly stated that customers on the Naked Broadband ‘My 7GB’ ‘My 15GB’ and ‘My 30GB’ would be throttled at 128 Kb when the data allowance was exceeded” the company said in a reply to APC.
 
“The SFoAs should have stated the throttling speed as 64 kb for all plans” the spokesperson said.

Optus says it will now contact all customers on the Naked Broadband ‘My 7GB’ ‘My 15GB’ and ‘My 30GB’ plans an offer them the opportunity to cancel their contract with Optus with no cancellation fees or penalties.

The company corrected its documentation on Saturday and apologised for the inconvenience caused by the mistake in its response to APC.

There are options for people who want to take this opportunity to quit their Optus contract without penalty in order to get 128Kbit/s shaping. A number of ISPs offer it though it is generally offered to ‘SOHO’ customers as part of slightly more expensive plans for small businesses.

Internode offers 128Kbit/s shaping for its SOHO Extreme ADSL2+ and SOHO Naked Extreme ADSL2+ plans.

iiNet oddly shapes download to 64Kbit/s but upload to 128Kbit/s once you’re past either your peak or off peak allowance.

Some smaller ISPs offer 128Kbit/s shaping: Regional Connect broadband offers “Work” plans that shape to 128Kbit/s for both down and upload and UltraFast Communication Solutions also offer it.

Of course which ISP you can switch to will depend very much on which ISPs have installed DSLAMs in your home exchange. You can check your coverage either by typing in your address at yourbroadband.com.au.