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WIRELESS & NETWORKING / MODEMS

Telstra Bigpond No Go With Vista

By David Richards | Sunday | 17/12/2006

If you have a new generation notebook or Desktop PC and are running Vista, forget about getting access to the new BigPond Next G network.

The reality is that Telstra, which claims it is a key partner of Microsoft, doesn't support the new Windows operating system with its new range of BigPond modems, despite the OS already being launched to enterprise customers.

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft  launched the final version of their new Windows operating system to the enterprise market. These are organisations that spend millions on new notebooks and have hundreds, if not thousands of employees who need remote wireless access or are now running Vista on their desktop.

In an effort to provide a service to this market along with thousands of SMB customers, Telstra launched its new USB Mobile Card and desktop modem that allows users to access the BigPond Wireless Broadband service on Telstra's Next Gâ„¢ network. This was using the new USB modem as opposed to using the traditional PCMCIA card, which is now obsolete on new notebooks due to the launch of the new Intel Duel Core processors that come with PCI Express card connectors as opposed to the traditional PCMCIA card slots.

But guess what - the USB BigPond modem does not work with the new Windows Operating System, despite Telstra telling the world that it did.

BigPond Group Managing Director, Mr Justin Milne, said in his launch press release: "Our new Modem and USB Mobile Card have the added advantage that they can be used on any Windows laptop or Windows desktop PC with a USB port, including laptops that don't have a PCMCIA card slot.  A Mac-compatible version will be available early in the New Year".

SmartHouse News found out about the problem after spending 45 minutes trying to load the device onto a brand new notebook running the Vista operating system. After waiting 40 minutes for a BigPond support call, I was told "We don't support all Windows operating systems. It's not our fault." The operator then hung up before I could seek information on when drivers for Vista would be available.

The fact is that if Telstra is such a key partner with Microsoft, it would have had access to Vista development kits months ago, particularly if Telstra is developing new wireless modems for a brand new network like the NextG Network.

On top of this, it is just plain stupid not to give customers a choice of which Windows operating system they can use with the new BigPond modems only weeks from the offical consumer launch of the Vista Windows operating system. 

In their launch release, Microsoft said of the new modems: "Customers now have two new ways to access BigPond Wireless Broadband on Telstra's Next Gâ„¢ network, with the launch of a USB Mobile Card and desktop modem."

BigPond Group Managing Director, Mr Justin Milne, said that together with the Mobile Card for laptops launched on October 6, the new Windows-compatible devices make wireless broadband access a reality for virtually everyone living within the Next Gâ„¢ network area, Australia's greatest 3G network.

 "Telstra is committed to broadbanding Australia and with our mobile and desktop BigPond Wireless Broadband options, anyone in our extensive coverage area can connect to the Next G network.

"Each BigPond wireless device provides access to our superfast plans, with download speeds averaging 550Kbps to 1.5Mbps, and peak network downlink speeds of up to 3.6Mbps.

"The USB card will match BigPond Wireless Mobile Card pricing, with plans based upon time, speed or downloads.  Wireless modem plans start from $39.95 a month for a 256kbps/200MB 12-month plan with four other options providing faster speeds and more downloads.

"This is great news for customers without access to wired broadband services, such as ADSL or cable, or those customers who want freedom to relocate, such as students and tenants. 

"The USB card also means you can swap between an office or home PC and a laptop for when you need to be on-the-move. You can even connect when travelling with roaming available in thirty countries.

"Our new modem and USB mobile card have the added advantage that they can be used on any Windows laptop or Windows desktop PC with a USB port, including laptops that don't have a PCMCIA card slot.  A Mac-compatible version will be available early in the New Year," Mr Milne said.

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