Tuesday, 12 February 2019 05:03

Aussie Broadband chief says NBN write-down will lead to cheaper 100/40 plans Featured

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Phillip Britt: "We already see 26% of our customers sign on the 100/40 plans so there is demand there for those speeds, but the average consumer seems to find the 50/20 price points the sweet spot." Phillip Britt: "We already see 26% of our customers sign on the 100/40 plans so there is demand there for those speeds, but the average consumer seems to find the 50/20 price points the sweet spot." Supplied

The head of one of Australia's smaller Internet service providers says it is likely that the cost of 100/40Mbps plans will drop over time, but it will require a write-down of the NBN for this to occur.

In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit on Monday, Phillip Britt, the chief executive of Aussie Broadband, told questioners that it would not be possible for the NBN Co, the company rolling out the national broadband network, to keep sticking to their average revenue per user targets "because the mobile guys will wipe the floor with them".

However, he said, it was difficult to predict when a price drop would happen. "They have released a short-term promotion around the 100/40 services currently, but it has some conditions around it that requires a customer to stay with that service provider for x period of time, so its risky to implement.

"We already see 26% of our customers sign on the 100/40 plans so there is demand there for those speeds, but the average consumer seems to find the 50/20 price points the sweet spot."

Britt said the easiest way out of the NBN mess was to remove the CVC construct and have price per port style model, along with the ability for people to upgrade to fibre-to-the-kerb at an affordable price.

"In terms of HFC, I believe the main issue holding back faster speeds is they don't have full access to the spectrum on the cable currently, its still being shared with Telstra's HFC Internet product," he said in response to a question. "The hardware is capable of it. They also need to get more fibre deeper into the HFC network and breakdown the segments more."

Britt said his company had no plans at the moment to offer unlimited plans with speeds above the 100/40 level.

"The CVC pricing construct is the primary limiter here, we've only got 2.5 mbits of CVC allocated under the bundled model and someone on an unlimited plan on those higher tiers would have the potential to really cause some damage," he explained.

Asked about the challenges of running the company from a regional centre instead of a city, Britt said finding staff to work in Morwell was a daily challenge.

"We have been very lucky that we've been able to find the 170 and growing staff we have currently, and we do a lot of on the job training so we recruit for personality and train in the skills," he said.

"We are looking later this year to potentially open another location outside of regional Victoria. We do already have some working from home staff who spend the majority of their time not in the office but it's currently limited to more senior staff."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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