Recently my brother in law Richard who currently works in NYC returned to Australia for a few days and stayed with my father in law who has always been a Telstra user for all telephone and internet services and currently has a BigPond 1500 DSL service.
My brother in law, a very adept technology user, didn't give a second thought to using the DSL connection to keep up with his demanding work load as the COO of an advertising/market development company.
Big Pond are very efficient in keeping users advised by email of the usage on their low download inclusion DSL plans and the included 400 mb limit disappeared in the first hour Richard used the connection and soon the advices were telling my father in law that his excess usage bill was over $400.00 - all racked up in less than 3 days. (financially it was no burden as Richard paid for the excess).
As my father in law now keeps in touch with Richard via skype video phone and is beginning to use other more download hungry applications we decided to churn him to an Exetel plan and this caused us to look at his current Telstra 1500/256 plan whch was $39.95 including 400 mb of download.
He has had that plan for a while and has never exceeded the 400 mb so it was a pretty good deal for a low volume user who are the vast majority of current ADSL users. In fact its a deal that a Telstra Wholesale customer can't match - and that's without taking in to consideration that Big Pond gave him a free modem and a no cost install.
Exetel pay Telstra Wholesale $36.30 for the 1500/256 monthly port rental and $3.95 would barely cover the cost of 400 mb of ingress/egress and connectivity bandwidth and one support call a year. It certainly wouldn't allow the recovery of the $88.00 set up fee and the $40.00 or so cost of a free modem and courier delivery.
I suppose if the pricing is based on one major downoad mistake/excess per year it could be made workable but it's a difficult concept to put in place for a small ISP.
Nevertheless, we will have to add a similar plan which we will do early next week. Just one more sign of the very tough times for independent ISPs becoming even scarier.