getting ADSL in Sydney - a broadband saga
The best place to start if you're looking for broadband in Australia is Whirlpool's Broadband Choice.
Broadband may actually be cheaper than dialup. If you're paying $15/month to an ISP, $30 for a phone line, and $20 for calls, then paying $65/month for ADSL and phone line is no more expensive — and gives you much faster Internet access.
Following Telstra, the cheapest plans offer 200MB of bandwidth per month with outrageous charges for overruns, typically 10 to 20 cents per megabyte. It's just too risky.
I really wanted a static IP address, to make it easier to connect to my computer from outside. For most non-technical users this is probably not so critical.
I picked an ADSL provider using Whirlpool. Swiftel were cheap, had low
charges for quota overruns ($5/gigabyte), and provided static IP addresses
- and looking around their own forums and Whirlpool's suggested a good
reputation. So I signed up my girlfriend - useful guinea pig! - and when
that went well, I tried to sign up myself, just before Christmas 2003...
Things were not so easy. Telstra reported that an "alternative pathway check" failed: my line was on a RIM ("pair gain") and not suitable for ADSL and a transposition attempt (to switch me to copper all the way to the exchange) had failed.
This seemed unlikely, since I was in Waverton and connected to the North Sydney exchange, not in a remote area, but when I rang Telstra's info line they confirmed it. So I gnashed my teeth, looked at the expensive cable plans, and put it all off.
In February 2004 I tried to sign up again with Swiftel — and then Telstra dropped the prices for broadband cable Internet, so I applied for that. And it all came through at once: the day Telstra was due to activate ADSL on my line was the same day the cable installer was due! I went with ADSL — it had only taken three months.