BigPond is an Australian Internet service provider and is a subsidiary of Telstra. BigPond is Australia's largest ISP in terms of both subscribers, revenue and coverage, and since 2005 has continued to expand its business, growing to have 50% of the Australian internet market share. BigPond, as a subsidiary of Telstra, has a majority share of internet penetration in Australia, primarily due to Telstra owning most telephone exchanges. Based in Sydney, BigPond is now a nationwide company, providing access to internet services across the country.
- Cable - BigPond is Australia's largest provider of cable internet, which covers Australia's main cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast). Speeds available on Telstra's cable network range from 8, 17 and 30 Mbit/s down, 128 kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s up. Currently on the 30/1 Mbit/s plan, it is only available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
- ADSL - BigPond provides both ADSL and ADSL2+ services where available, with speeds ranging from 256 kbit/s down/64 kbit/s up to 20 Mbit/s down/1 Mbit/s up. The current speeds available on ADSL plans that BigPond offers are 256 kbit/s down/64 kbit/s up, 1.5 Mbit/s down/256 kbit/s up, 8 Mbit/s down/384 kbit/s up and "up to" 20 Mbit/s down/1 Mbit/s up. It should be noted that other limiting factors such as distance from the telephone exchange or line noise may prevent reaching the maximum speed rated
- Wireless - Through Telstra's Next G network, Bigpond provides the largest wireless network coverage in Australia, claiming to reach up to 99% of the population. Speeds range from 256 kbit/s to 3.5 Mbit/s in regional and interurban areas, and up to 6 Mbit/s in metropolitan and city areas. Currently the network has a maximum speed capability of 14.4 Mbit/s, yet user side hardware is only capable of a maximum 7.2 Mbit/s.
- Telstra Wireless 'Hot Spots' - In almost every Australian McDonald's store, Starbucks, Novotel and Hilton hotels, and in such venues as Qantas' Airport Lounges and cafes, BigPond has activated Wireless 'Hot Spots' that people can use if they have a BigPond account or credit card. The connection fee is usually $5 per 10 minutes but prices can vary from each hot spot.
- Satellite - Bigpond provides Satellite internet mainly for regional customers who are too far away from the exchange to get ADSL, and can not get Cable. Satellite comes in two forms - 1 way Satellite and 2 way Satellite. From 30 November 2008, BigPond will no longer provide 1 way Satellite. Speeds on BigPond Satellite range from 256 kbit/s down/64 kbit/s up to 800 kbit/s down/128 kbit/s up. Satellite internet is comparatively expensive with other forms of internet such as ADSL or Cable, with pricing ranging from $104.95 to $499.95 per month
- Dialup - Dialup plans range from $9.95 to $21.95, with discounts for Telstra customers. Over the last few years BigPond has aggressively moved customers off dialup to a broadband platform, and in 2006 its broadband customers surpassed the amount of dialup customers respectively.
Allows Australian residents rent DVDs online, which are then mailed to the customers house. More recently, BigPond introduced the ability to buy movies online, which are then downloaded can then be played on their computer for a certain amount of time (usually 48 hours). BigPond members get a discount on the price of each movie.
BigPond Games and GameArena
GameArena is the name of BigPond's free online games service, previously known as Wireplay
. The service is managed by Mammoth Media and based on the east coast of Australia
. Use of the file library, public servers and booking service is freely available to anyone, but provides specific advantages to Telstra customers such as preference in downloads and unmetered usage, as well as various bonuses in competitions. In order to gain access to a majority of game servers, the client The Arena
, must be installed to connect through the firewall
. This means that GameArena administrators
can ensure troublemakers are consistently dealt with.
The site provides news, downloads and servers primarily for the PC, though it has recently also branched out to include console sites. GameArena also provides an online game shop GameNow, which again sports various benefits to BigPond customers. GameArena recently went through a new shift with the merging of GameNow and Gameshop into itself. The new name is simply BigPond GameArena.
GameArena currently operates over 100 gaming servers, which are monitored by a volunteer force of administrators, known as GameOps. GameCreate is a service offered free of charge where users may book a server for a specific game for a 2 hour period of time. This server is private and can be used for either ladder training or social events.
Choice Magazine in October 2007 found Bigpond the second worst for both ADSL and Wireless internet. In this survey, Bigpond came second last, with Dodo
coming last and Westnet
first. Bigpond is criticised for charging $150 per GB excess charges on some of its broadband plans, and for counting uploads in the monthly download allowances.
See also Internet in Australia