Something to consider the next time someone tells you Australians don't want higher speeds or bigger download caps: iiNet is withdrawing one of its NBN plans for satellite customers because it is too popular and is straining the capacity of the temporary NBN satellite network.
iiNet had previously offered two NBN satellite plans: $39.95 a month for 10GB of data, or $49.95 for 20GB. Existing 20GB customers can keep their plans, but from now on iiNet will only sell the 10GB plan. Once you exceed the download limit, you get shaped to 128Kbps up and down.
iiNet's Steve Dalby explained the reason for the switch in a press statement:
The popularity of both our 10GB and 20GB plans have put considerable strain on the network designed by NBNCo. With no possibility of a network upgrade available from NBNCo, each new customer was adversely impacting the speed and experience of our current satellite customers. So, we have decided, after careful consideration and for the benefit of the 6000 customers already connected to iiNet’s interim satellite service to only offer our very attractive 10GB plan. We will withdraw our 20GB NBN-Satellite plan for new sales effective immediately.
Satellite NBN plans are only available in remote areas where the NBN fibre rollout isn't proceeding because it is too costly. Currently they use a temporary satellite service limited to 6/1Mbps, which is due to be replaced with a faster service in 2015. (That won't change even if the Coalition NBN ends up being introduced.)
Even with this change, most satellite customers are far better off than with earlier-generation satellite systems, which offered slower speeds and required a separate phone line for uploads. Nonetheless, it's a useful reminder: our demands for speed aren't going down.