Residential national broadband network (NBN) connections were up almost 8.6 per cent during the past quarter, counting about 4.5 million residents, with half of them being on fast plans with speeds of 50Mbps or more.
That's according to findings from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which also shed light on the number of Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) services for the first time, with those in operation at the end of September totalling 39,204.
Specifically, 1.8 million services were on the 50Mbps speed tier, a ten-fold increase in comparison to 159,000 residential customers in December last year.
More than 1.2 million consumers were also on the lowest 12Mbps speed plan, which rose 4.3 per cent.
The ACCC attributed this rise to NBN Co’s pricing strategies to encourage Retail Service Providers (RSPs) and their customers to use higher speed plans, as well as other initiatives such as the ACCC’s speed guidance project.
ACCC chair, Rod Sims, said customers were willing to move to higher speed plans if the incentives were right.
“We expect these incentives will continue to operate as NBN Co transitions to longer term bundled pricing for higher speed plans,” Sims said.
Sims pointed out that it was important for RSPs to also maintain sufficient CVC capacity to ensure consumers were getting the service they paid for.
“The ACCC will continue to monitor CVC utilization under its record-keeping powers,” Sims said. “The ACCC’s Monitoring Broadband Australia Program will also continue to RSPs by whether they are providing the speeds expected by consumers.
In May, NBN Co said it began consulting with NBN retail service providers (RSPs), such as phone and internet providers, on pricing bundles for its wholesale NBN fixed wireless plans.
With regards to the fixed access and bandwidth price options, the aim was to remove the requirement to retain separate charges for providers to support fixed wireless services under its existing two-part price construct.
The move would mirror what the company has done with its top tier fixed-line network services pricing – combining the network access charges with some network connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) bandwidth capacity.
It is hoped this move will improve the economies of scale for fixed wireless from internet and phone providers.
The figures come as NBN Co continues to ramp up its activity within the ICT industry. In October, the business signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Dell EMC, further entrenching itself into the channel ecosystem.
In July, NBN Co inked key distribution deals with Ingram Micro, Dicker Data, Westcon-Comstor and Aria Technologies, further extending its ICT channel program reach, which has since attracted more than 600 ICT organisations, with 160 of them successfully completing training and certification requirements to become NBN business accredited advisers.