When the Internet first emerged as a consumer option in Australia, small Internet service providers (ISPs) were often the best choice, offering timely customer service and free local call connections. But in the broadband era, the consolidation process means that we're rapidly approaching the point where they may disappear altogether.
At AustralianIT, Andrew Colley reports on research by iiNet which found that the number of smaller ISPs in Australia has fallen from 450 to 250 over the last year. A handful of large providers -- with Telstra, Optus, iiNet and TPG the most prominent -- dominate the market, having enough scale to actually install their own equipment in exchanges. Most other ISPs operate as resellers, which limits their ability to control pricing and to launch new products.
The article even speculates about a possible takeover of Internode by iiNet, something which might not go down so well with those Lifehacker readers who voted Internode the best ISP of 2010. Then again, iiNet did run a very close second in that poll.
Still with a smaller ISP and hoping they're not looking for a takeover? Tell us about them in the comments.
Small internet service providers make a dash for the door [AustralianIT]