Telstra BigPond (a major Australian Internet Service Provider, with an approximate 50% market-share) has had one of the most popular corporate presences in the virtual environment of Second Life, even including a customer service center staffed eleven hours per day, five days per week. In a nation with expensively metered bandwidth, BigPond even refrained from metering a portion of the data sent to its customers from Second Life. All of this for what has basically been an experiment.
That, however, appears to be coming to a close. BigPond intends to shutter its Second Life presence on 16 December.
As a part of that, unmetered usage of Second Life for BigPond customers will end, though the extent of that arrangement has not been widely understood to-date.
A BigPond spokesperson confirmed for us that only data from the BigPond simulators themselves were exempt from metering. Metered data still included any or all streaming media, profile data, map data, and voice, plus any data from any other simulator on the Second Life grid.
Thus, by closing the presence, there's technically nothing else left of Second Life that's exempt from metering. Some users have protested the closure under the (incorrect) impression that all of Second Life was unmetered for BigPond users.
One hundred thousand users have joined Second Life through BigPond, though only 2,000 or so of those became regular users of the service, according to Telstra spokesperson Craig Middleton.
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