When I wrote up an overview of Australian wireless broadband plans earlier in the week, several readers spoke in praise of Virgin Mobile's offerings in the comments. Virgin uses the Optus network and offers roughly similar prepaid and contract deals, but eliminates Optus' tricksy policy of charging for 10MB blocks rather than per kilobyte for prepaid users. At $39 a month for a 5GB contract plan, Virgin (like fellow Optus reseller Primus) also offers shaping rather than excess data charges, dropping speeds to 64Kbps if you reach the limit. The only potential fly in the ointment is Virgin's P2P policy — any file sharing connections are reduced to just 32Kbps, which is painfully slow. The other challenge (as with Virgin's iPhone deals) is availability: as I write this, the company is out of stock on USB modems, though if you already have one from another provider, you can sign up for a BYO modem deal.
Virgin Mobile Broadband Offers Shaping Options
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Earlier this month, it was revealed NBN Co had started initial talks with ISPs about how they could chuck an extra fee on video streaming, according to Commsday and iTNews. Naturally, all of Australia simultaneously freaked out because video streaming sites like Netflix, Stan and YouTube have become as much of a necessary part of daily life as food or maybe even oxygen. So, while the conversation around net neutrality has been ongoing in the United States for years, it had finally arrived to Australian shores. But with the 5G rollout picking up speed, it's likely Australians would just move to this and other alternatives for their streaming needs.
In a break from tradition, Netflix added most of its content on Wednesday this week instead of Friday. This means there isn't much coming to the service this weekend. Fortunately, the content that's there is definitely worth a watch.