Orcon offers unlimited plan

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 11:48 24/09/2012

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State-owned internet provider Orcon has introduced a $99 phone and broadband plan without fixed data caps that also allows "unlimited" calls to landlines nationwide.

However, "fine print" applying to the service means broadband speeds could drop during peak times, such as during the evening, especially if the plans prove more popular than expected. Phone calls must also last less than an hour to be included within the plan.

Spokesman Quentin Reade said Orcon would have two separate pools of bandwidth for customers; one for those who were still subject to data caps and another for those on unlimited plans, and it was not offering any speed guarantees.

Orcon had attempted to estimate the demand for unlimited data and if it was higher than forecast "all people in the unlimited pool may see speeds drop temporarily", the company said.

In addition, there is a separate "fair use policy" that lets Orcon alter the service provided to "heavy users" who activities impact others on the network, its terms and conditions said.

Chief executive Scott Bartlett said the plans were nevertheless a "game-changer" and were aimed at "mainstream consumers". Most of its customers wanted more data and 40 per cent had been affected by 'bill shock" in the past, he said.

A previous experiment by Telecom in offering unlimited broadband with a dedicated pool of bandwidth failed in 2007. The company found a small proportion of customers on its "Go Large" plans used far more bandwidth than expected, draining the pool and leading to many to suffer dial-up speeds during peak times. It then withdrew the plans.

Reade said Orcon had been generous in setting the pool of capacity for its "unlimited" plans.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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