Telstra BigPond Wireless Broadband

As long as you're a metropolitan broadband user, Telstra BigPond Wireless Broadband delivers well, but it can't be said to be an inexpensive broadband option.

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Telstra offers its BigPond Wireless Broadband service with either a fixed desktop modem or a PC Card roaming modem for notebook users. The notebook option is the more expensive option, both in upfront cost (AU$199 for desktop, AU$299 for PC card) and in the plan cost, which varies depending on the usage plan you select. We tested with the notebook variant, and given Telstra's claimed coverage map for the actual broadband part of the service, it's fair to suggest that most of the users will do likewise; within most of the coverage areas there's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to broadband choice.

Installation of the service involves a relatively pain-free installation - we tested with the Windows software, but it's also available for Mac OS X 10.2.8 and better users -- and then insertion of the PC Card Modem. The PC Card modem for the service is a standard Type II card with a very slender antennae that works best in an upright position. There's only one problem here, and it's particularly pressing for a product that's intended to be mobile. The antenna is fixed on with a very slender little antennae that's somewhat reminiscent of the type of antennae you'd find on mobile phones about eight years ago. This is hardly surprising, as the broadband service does use Telstra's mobile network for operation -- but it's also somewhat worrying, as it feels extremely fragile. We used very light fingers and lots of caution during our testing, but could easily imagine the antennae snapping, at which point you'd be out a further AU$299 for a replacement.

Telstra offers the wireless broadband service on two platforms. Within a coverage area, you'll connect to its 1xEV-DO service, which offers broadband speeds of up to 512kbps, although that's only for downloads -- uploads run at a far more sedate 64kbps. Outside the coverage area, you'll connect to the significantly slower CDMA service. Telstra calls this "high speed" in its marketing material, but also notes that while it's capable of bursts of up to 144kpbs, an average speed of 80-100kbps is more realistic.

Speeds vary by plan as well. On the cheapest desktop modem plan (AU$34.95/month with 200MB allowance) you'll get only a 256/64kbps connection, whereas the highest rate mobile card plan will set you back AU$129.95/month for a 512/64kbps plan and 1GB of download allowances. The desktop plans offer significantly cheaper rates for usage over plan allowance at 15c/MB, while the mobile card plans cost twice that.

We tested the Wireless BigPond service with the mobile card on the highest rate 512/64kbps plan within a coverage zone in far north Sydney, as well as from an area in the Hunter Valley that was most decidedly outside any coverage. Outside the coverage zone, our connection was a touch sketchy -- rather like using a mobile in a country area, which is after all exactly what we were doing -- but it still worked at a better rate than comparative dial up connections. Within the coverage zone we got generally good download speeds from popular sites, and predictably poor uploads. Ping times were resolutely poor, so it's not a product for gamers, but then with these specifications and especially pricing, that's not really a great surprise. It's also worth noting that as it's technically a product that utilises a dial up connection, if you use it in conjunction with other network access services you may find the connection manager popping up when you don't actually need it.

Despite its very beach-centric advertising, BigPond Wireless Broadband has a clear target market, and that's business types who need an additional broadband connection that can drop down to slightly better than dial up outside normal coverage areas. Its pricing makes it a less than compelling option for anyone who's able to procure any type of ADSL or cable connection, and even compared to other wireless providers like unwired or iBurst it's costly. In its favour, it has unrivalled coverage for its total service within its 1xEV-DO coverage areas, and the added bonus of slower coverage outside it.

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Van Deimens Lad

Van Deimens Lad posted a review   

The Good:I can have "broadband" speed.

The Bad:The above statement is a lie.

I live in an antiquated area of Tasmania, about twenty minutes out of Hobart. I tried to connect my broadband account to our new house. It took them two weeks to get out a technician and of course, after all that time it was declared I couldn't actually get broadband. So I had to go either dial-up or wireless. I picked wireless because dial-up is like having your teeth pulled (seriously why do they even off it as a service at all?).

Of course, now I have a fabulous service which will frequently cut out and is often (especially at peak times) as slow as dial-up anyway! And all of this is occuring while I can look out the window from my computer desk and SEE THE HOBART TELECOMMUNICATION TOWER! That's right people, my wireless service drops out while I still have line of sight view from the modem to the biggest telecommunication centre in the state!!

My question is this: If Aurora Energy gives cheques out for black-out time when? Surely Telstra should be giving out refunds/discounts on periods where the sevice has but out?


bronco posted a comment   

The Good:while it last

The Bad:very

drops out all the time
totally stuffed my soft ware
repaired at great cost to me
not bluddy telstra
returning products to telstra
for refund


Boothie posted a review   

The Good:Constant connection, fast speed, price is good

The Bad:Customer service while trying to get the broardband connected

While we had a stuff around in the beginning, after talking to a supervisor in Sydney (yes, that's right, I said Sydney (Not all people are overseas!)), We were connected the next day. The wireless modem was easy to set up and the price is great for the speed. No-one else could give us even close to the same speed for around the same price. We are very happy with the bigpond side of Telstra, the phone side however is another story!!!! They need to get people who can actually speak fluent english and are easily understood. I have spent several hours fixing my partners mobile/home plan as they keep adding different charges to it each month. They need to sort out their workers and employ aussies who speak english. NO MORE OF THESE NEW AUSSIES!!!! YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND THEM AND IT MAKES YOU MORE FRUSTRATED THE LONGER YOU HAVE TO TALK TO THEM!!!


Anon posted a comment   

The Good:No phone line necessary.

The Bad:The entire thing.

I have the new Telstra Wireless Wi-Fi router, I work for a Telstra Dealer.

The thing drops out every hour or so without any reason or notification. I have full signal, Bigpond have swapped the router, they have reccomended an antenna for my "high signal area", Who would have figured?

Amongst many many other troubleshooting issues they still just cant admit that network tower provided internet is good in concept, if it worked that way.

I would NEVER reccommend this heap of crap to anyone, what a joke..

And the pricing? You can get 40GB for $100 per month on ADSL2+ which is fast as hell in comparison to $129.95 for 10GB and a connection that cant even stabilise?...


Dan posted a review   

The Good:It works most of the time

The Bad:It's Telstra...what else can i say.

I wouldn't even rate this utter piece of crap! I was living in metro perth, and because of my location (in a very slightly hilly area) this was the only way i could get broadband. I tried 3, but there USB modem could not get reception so telstra was my only option. Skip forward 6 months and now i live in metro Brisbane. I thought "great, now i can get ADSL and get rid of this overpriced wireless shitheap" But, no apparently i can't get ADSL in my street...WTF! Telstra seriously need to sort there broadband infrastructure out. This wireless broadband is horrendously overpriced and then the **** lock you in for 36 months! Telstra can pay their boss millions of dollars and then still keep ripping everyday australians's pathetic. They can go to hell.


susan posted a review   

If there was a minus 100 rating I'd have used it!

absolutely no one at telstra has any freaking idea about wireless. They cannot even give you a telephone number. They have no people trained on it at all.


z17813 posted a review   

The Good:Makes you realise no matter how bad other ISPs are they are not Telstra

The Bad:TELSTRA service, cost, incompetent techs, sales people, helpdesk, services they will sign you up for and then say 'oh we actually have a blackspot there' after previously assuring you that your specific address was in a good coverage area

Telstra service is terrible... would have given it 1 or 0 but 2 is as low as the slider


dickandjill posted a review   

The Good:could have been very funny

The Bad:almost caused my husband to have another heart attack

Hello my name is Jill and my husband and I are pensioners I am 62 and he is 64. I hope I am sending this to the right place as this is a very large complaint and I am considering going to the dept of fair tradeing or the ombudsman.
My problem started one day last week. I rang to chat about haveing my out going phone calls barred and still have incomming calls.
I spoke to a young lady who said that this was possible but as I still wanted to have the internet on [I have dial up connection] I would have to go to broadband. That was fine and the broadband quipment arrived at my address yesterday. As my husband is not well we waited till this morning to attempt the connection. It was all going fine until the last bit and then we had a red light blinking on the gateway so we rang the technical department so try to sort it out, we spoke to a young lady who I will just give her first initial P.she informed my husband that the broadband would not be connected for two more business days as technicians had to come to do something in the wire boxes that you have in the steet so we were satisfied with that as we expect a company like Telstra to know what they are talking about, anyway I wanted to know something else so we rang the same number and spoke to C, she told me that we didn'y need technicians to come and work on the boxes in the street and that it could be fixed over the phone, she then connected me to S. who in turn told me that there was no way we could have any sort of internet as well as barring all outgoing calls as this just was not possible, that was intirely different to the young lady last week. S. in turn connected me to T. who said he was not the right person and so connected me to C. who then put me through to S who said that they would send a retrival bag to pick up the broadband equipment, by this time I was very very angry as I felt that I was being spoken to by a whole lot of people who did not have a clue what they were talking about, but it doesn't end there either because they last person could tell how angry I was he went to speak to his supervisor, in turn eventualy I spoke to I. who just he was very sorry and couldn't help any more.This all happened in a period of about 2 hours. about half an hour later I was called from an office in Telstra who looks after accounts and his name started with the name B. who in turn proceeded to tell me how to go about haveing cheaper phone calls.
Now i didn't get to be 62 years old with out learning a thing ot two so after being treated like a 2 year old, I eventually hung up. By this time my husband who has multiple illnesses, was threatening to throw the phone and the computer out in to the paddock.
Then to add insult to injury about an hour later I had a phone call from another department asking me if i wanted to be taken off broadband please keep in mind all i wanted in the first place was to have my out going calls barred and I was prepared to go off the internet all together.
The situation at the moment is this. I am considering who I am going to talk to next about this because I feel that with a company like Telstra, your employees should be well trained in their field and they obviously are not.
oh, I forgot, when I spoke the first young lady last week she told me I had a phone bill of $274.03 to pay when the bill came out. When I spoke to the last person B. he told me that that was the last account and the next one doesn't come out until next month.
I give up; so I am going to keep my dial up connection and consider my options from here, this may sound funny to you but believe me it most certainly was not. I await your reply and if this isn't the correct department could you please forward it to the right one Thank you Jill


warrent posted a review   

The Good:None thus far.

The Bad:Yes we were conned.

Have just had two laptops set up with the new 3G wireless broadband system. As yet unable to get either to work efficiently. Dissapointed to say the least,

Peter & Jan Cotterill

Peter & Jan Cotterill posted a review   

The Good:can use it with notebook as well as pc

The Bad:find we don't get any coverage in small country towns even if we have mobile reception.

I find that the wireless broadband is great when at home but initially bought this system so that we could get coverage when travelling. Not worries about speed just need to check emails do banking etc.

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User Reviews / Comments  Telstra BigPond Wireless Broadband

  • Van Deimens Lad

    Van Deimens Lad


    "I live in an antiquated area of Tasmania, about twenty minutes out of Hobart. I tried to connect my broadband account to our new house. It took them two weeks to get out a technician and of course..."

  • bronco


    "drops out all the time
    totally stuffed my soft ware
    repaired at great cost to me
    not bluddy telstra
    returning products to telstra
    for refund"

  • Boothie



    "While we had a stuff around in the beginning, after talking to a supervisor in Sydney (yes, that's right, I said Sydney (Not all people are overseas!)), We were connected the next day. The wireless..."

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