About Optus
Careers Legal & Regulatory Sponsorship Media Centre Corporate Responsibility Network CoverageSingTel & Optus
Optus@Home High-Speed Cable Internet Service fast approaching
29 Oct 1999

At Home Network Australia, the joint venture between Cable & Wireless Optus and Excite@Home, today released details of Optus@Home, the much-anticipated high speed cable Internet service. Optus@Home is the ultimate online service providing a unique combination of high-speed Internet access with exciting broadband Internet content.

"Optus@Home is a revolutionary new online service that will deliver unbeatable speed, exciting multi-media content and every feature you'll need to get the best out of the 'Net," said John Garner, Director of Marketing, Programming & Sales for At Home Network Australia.

"You'll be able to watch video news and sports highlights instantly, download software faster than ever before, surf page after page of rich graphics ? all without the wait. And that's just the beginning. Optus@Home will be at the forefront of developing new and exciting localised 'broadband' content for our high speed subscribers."

"We want to redefine what Australians expect from their Internet Service Providers. Clearly, Optus@Home is not just another ISP," he said. The Optus@Home service also features customised browsers, five email accounts, five personal WebSpace accounts, 24 hours, 7 days a week technical support, search and navigation tools, newsgroups and more.

According to At Home Network Australia, no other Internet service for your home is faster than Optus@Home. Unlike slow dial-up Internet services, Optus@Home connects subscribers' computers to the Internet using the existing Optus broadband cable. Subscribers access the Internet at speeds up to 100 times faster than standard 28.8 modems.

In addition, Optus@Home provides a reliable, constant connection to the Internet so there is no need to dial-in. When the computer is on, Optus@Home is online. With Optus@Home, there are no frustrating busy signals and no unexpected drop-outs.

Optus@Home provides an online content service that combines the best local Australian content with rich multimedia features only possible using the At Home Network Australia high-performance network.

"Australians have been denied access to affordable, high-speed Internet service for too long and Optus @Home will truly deliver on the promise of high-speed Internet service," said Mr Garner.

The first Optus@Home users will be connected this year. Optus@Home will be available in neighbourhoods in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where Optus broadband cable is available.

About At Home Network Australia

At Home Network Australia was formed in June 1999 through the joint venture of high speed Internet service provider and portal, Excite@Home and integrated communications company, Cable & Wireless Optus. The strength of Excite@Home's expertise in broadband Internet technology and Web content combined with the Cable & Wireless Optus extensive fibre-optic cable network, has created a high-speed cable Internet service not seen before in Australia.

For more information, http://cable.optusnet.com.au/.

For more information contact:
Stephanie Silvester
The Rowland Company
Tel: (02) 9241 3131

Melissa Favero
Cable & Wireless Optus
Tel: (02) 9342 5030

Background notes

Optus@Home vs. current offerings

There are five main Internet services available in Australia: dial-up, satellite, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable. Currently, no other Internet service for home users is faster than Optus@Home's cable connection.

Dial-up Internet and other high-speed broadband services can be slow, as Internet users may be requesting Web content from another country, other Internet networks or from a crowded server. Optus@Home features a unique, distributed network architecture that uses Regional Data Centres (RDCs) to store popular Web content and Optus@Home broadband content through caching and replication. For example, a 3.5MB file takes more than 16 minutes to download using a typical dial-up connection, compared to about 10 seconds on Optus@Home.

While dial-up networks connect you to the Internet using low-bandwidth phone wire which were designed to carry only voice, Optus@Home is delivered over broadband cable designed to carry rich video content. Unlike dial-up Internet services that use phone modems limited to speeds of 28.8Kbps or 56Kbps, Optus@Home uses new cable modems that don't have these limitations.

Optus@Home also uses Data Over Cable (DOCSIS) certified cable modem that will work on a Multimedia Cable Network Systems (MCNS) based cable network. Built using worldwide standards, subscribers don?t have to worry about the modem becoming obsolete, a problem experienced with many proprietary modems.

High-Speed Impact on Australian Internet Market

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), an estimated 1.5 million, or approximately 22 per cent of Australian households have access to the Internet. This is expected to grow to 2.1 million by 2000.

Of those households that do have access to the Internet, only a fraction of them have a dedicated, high-speed Internet service. The vast majority of online households access the Internet using standard dial-up modems.

Global Market Penetration

Analyst group IDC predicts that in the US, the number of users with permanent dedicated Internet access will grow from 29 per cent today to 53 per cent in 2003, with a third of all households using cable Internet access. As the country with the third-highest number of Internet users, Australia is expected to follow suit.

Excite@Home is the global leader in high-speed cable Internet service with the potential to serve more than 65 million homes through 22 cable companies. In North America alone, Excite@Home has over 840,000 subscribers and is expected to reach 1,000,000 subscribers before the end of 1999.

"There is an enormous consumer demand for affordable, high-speed Internet services worldwide. According to figures by www.analysis.com, the number of residential and small business sites that would buy high speed Internet services if offered at similar prices to the US is estimated at 40 million globally. By 2003, this demand is expected to reach 70 million," said Mr Garner.

Joint ventures between Excite@Home and global telecommunications companies have resulted in the expansion of the @Home service into six countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and now Australia.