NBN Co is getting set to start selling services under its new wholesale pricing options from May, after months of industry consultation.
The company behind the rollout of the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN) revealed plans in December last year to introduce new product bundles combining access charges with some network connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) bandwidth capacity.
Specifically, the company said it would introduce a new NBN 50 wholesale bundle charged at $45 a month, with 2Mbps of CVC included, and a new NBN 100 wholesale bundle at $65 a month with 2.5Mbps of CVC capacity included.
Previously, the wholesale access charge and the capacity charge made up a two-part pricing model that had seen some retail service providers (RSPs) under-provision bandwidth, which has been a major contributor to issues relating to end user speeds during peak download times.
At the time, the company also announced a new voice-only, low usage access plan, with 50kbps of data included -- enough to cover a basic telephony service.
NBN Co said at the time that the new plans include nearly double the average capacity that was previously being purchased by retailers across all NBN fixed line services, aimed at enticing retailers and end users to move up the speed chain – a big factor in NBN Co’s efforts to bulk up its average revenue per user (ARPU) figures.
The new bundles were slated for release in the second quarter of 2018.
To help drive greater uptake of its higher speed products while RSPs waited for the new bundles to arrive, NBN Co at the time also introduced a temporary promotion offering the NBN 50 wholesale service for the same access price as the NBN 25 service, with a boost of 50 per cent additional bandwidth.
Now, with the new bundles set to arrive in May, NBN Co has said that the temporary promotion, dubbed ‘Focus on 50’, will be available until 31 October 2018 in a bid to assist internet providers to prepare for the transition of the new wholesale bundles. However, the new bundles will ultimately supersede the promotion.
Meanwhile, the company is talking up the effects of its ‘Focus on 50’ promotion, with its latest monthly progress report revealing that orders for NBN plans based on wholesale speeds of 50Mbps or higher have more than doubled, from 16 per cent in December last year to 37 per cent for the month of March.
Indeed, the company claims that more than a million people have upgraded their internet speeds in the past four months.
“Three months ago we had less than one in 15 users connected to our ‘sweet spot’ wholesale 50Mbps plans – today we have more than one in four signed-up to them for better value than what they would have previously been paying,” NBN Co residential chief customer officer, Brad Whitcomb, said.
While the number of higher speed product uptake has increased, the monthly progress report also revealed that network availability had dropped slightly to 99.93 per cent, compared to 100 per cent in March 2017.
At the same time, average network bandwidth congestion was 18 minutes in March, a dramatic drop from the 415 minutes tallied up in March 2017, but higher than the 12 minutes reported in February.
“The results from our latest monthly progress report show we’ve listened to the community’s feedback and are working hard alongside industry to make significant steps to improve customer experience but we know there’s more to be done.” Whitcomb said.