There have been some disappointing changes in the Australian broadband pricing landscape lately, with Optus the latest offender.
We already told you that iiNet had followed Telstra's lead in adding upload charges to its naked DSL offering, and now Optus has added excess usage fees to its Optus Fusion broadband service.
Previously, Fusion customers had their service speed limited (let's call "shaping" what it really is) when they hit their download limit, but earlier this month Optus changed the terms, adding an excess usage charge of 15c/MB for the first 2GB of data over the limit. After the customer goes 2GB over their limit, the service is then speed limited to 64kbps on the 2GB and 7GB plans, or 128kbps on the 20GB plan.
The broadband community website Whirlpool wrote up the changes,and said this excess charge could be as high as $300. They also printed a reply from Optus, which said it provides tools to help customers monitor their usage if they wish to avoid charges. Given how quickly you can rack up 2GB of downloads, I don't really think an SMS or email notification will help terribly much unless you're sitting in front of the computer waiting breathlessly for your download to complete.
It's really a shame to see ISPs move away from the speed limiting model which means the customer knows exactly how much they'll be paying for the service, and they get speed limited rather than charged a fee if they go over. I particularly dislike pricing regimes which are set to hit less knowledgeable computer users the hardest, which this one is likely to do. Something to think about next time friends or family ask for advice on which ISP to use, in my opinion.
Optus Fusion stings users with excess fees [Whirlpool]