Antony de Jong, Head of Belong, said “It’s a win for nearly 3 million households that for the first time can access Belong services.”
“Belong offers simple, affordable and hassle-free broadband. Belong customers are able to choose a month-by-month service, or sign up for a 12-month contract giving them the freedom and flexibility to tailor their ADSL service to their needs,” said Mr de Jong.
“With Belong now available right across Australia on the NBN and also ADSL, we bring greater choice to outer metro areas and regional Australia. We also offer 24x7 support with online self-service options and through our call centre”.
Customers have the choice of broadband only plans or limited bundle plans. Belong offers start from $45 per month for 100GB on the NBN. Customers who choose our 12-month contract option receive a modem for just $1 and pay no activation fees ($541 min total cost over 12 months). As a special bonus, those customers who join before 22 December also get 3 months Presto included.
Telstra launched Belong in late 2013 as a response to other low costs ISPs. It did not want to sully the quality, reputation, or price premium that BigPond brand rightfully commands. Initially it was only available to Telstra landline customers as it used its ‘copper’. While its internet was reasonable value the landline added about $30 per month to the cost.
Initial reception to its service and speeds however was not good – achieving an average of a 1.7 star rating out of five. Early in 2014 it said it had overcome the teething issues and was a serious low cost competitor. But users seemed to eschew it because, like BigPond, it charged for uploaded as well as downloaded data.
Respected CommsWire journalist Graeme Philipson wrote in February 2014, “After its launch [October 2013] we heard nothing more from Belong. Telstra appears to be promoting it under the Official Secrets Act. But now, after nearly six months, it has issued its first press release, announcing that it will extend its service offering across all Australian capital cities, as well as selected regional centres this month.”
And today iTWire got its second ‘low cost, low word’ release – telling us little more than it announced nearly two years ago. The fact is that wholly owned Belong uses the new NBN network and the existing copper network built by Telstra (and sold to NBN) so we are a loss as to why this expanded geographical coverage has been announced now.