Thursday, 10 May 2018 12:15

ACCC lauds speed lift for NBN users, says competition for services increases Featured

By
Rod Sims, ACCC chairman Rod Sims, ACCC chairman

The competition watchdog, the ACCC, says more and more consumers are receiving higher-speed NBN plans and the 50Mbps plan now makes up 26% of all NBN plans, up from just 4.6% in December 2017.

The March report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the progress of the NBN comes as Commission chief Rod Sims says there are signs competition for NBN services is heating up.

He said that by the end of March 2018, all 121 points of interconnection had at least five access seeker groups acquiring services directly from NBN Co – and at least six groups were connected at 120 of the PoIs, and 95 PoIs had at least seven groups acquiring services.

“This is a sign competition is continuing to increase, and consumers at ever more locations have a greater choice of providers who directly connect with the NBN,” Sims said.

The ACCC’s ninth quarterly Wholesale Market Indicators Report found the number of 50Mbps services being acquired from NBN Co increased from 158,959 to 989,360 in the quarter to 31 March.

“Nearly one million customers are now using a plan with 50Mbps speeds. This is a remarkable shift in just three months,” Sims said.

In December 2017, NBN Co launched its "Focus on 50" promotion, offering a temporary credit to retailers for acquiring 50% more connectivity virtual circuit per user and reducing the price of the access virtual circuit for 50 Mbps services.

According to NBN Co, retailers have taken up these incentives in large numbers, enabling their customers to transfer to the higher 50Mbps speed tier, “which offers them a better NBN experience”.

“We are pleased to see retailers taking up the higher speed services and enabling their customers to shift to 50Mbps plans. This is good for consumers who can enjoy the benefits of higher speeds,” Sims said.

In its report, the ACCC says average CVC per user continues to increase, rising from 1.52Mbps in December 2017 to 1.55Mbps in March, following a 38% increase in CVC per user in the quarter to December 2017.

“However, we would expect that with more consumers on higher speed plans, retailers will continue to provision enough CVC to ensure a continuing good customer experience, particularly during the busy evening periods,” Sims said.

He says the ACCC will continue to monitor broadband speeds and CVC utilisation by retailers to ensure that consumers can get the services they are promised.

Key points from the ACCC's March report on the NBN include:

  •  The number of 50Mbps services increased substantially and now accounts for 26% of all wholesale services. The number of 50Mbps services in operation in March was more than six times that in the December quarter.
  •  NBN Co was supplying a total of 3,813,994 wholesale broadband access services (up from 3,467,306 services in the December quarter).
  •  A total of 6008Gbps of CVC capacity was acquired at the end of the March quarter (5385 for December 2017).
  •  The average amount of TC-4 (residential broadband) CVC acquired per user increased from 1.52Mbps in December to 1.55Mbps in March.
  •  There are at least seven access seeker groups directly connected at 95 of NBN Co’s 121 PoIs.

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