Internode: Price, not speed, is the key broadband issue

Internode senior staffer claims consumers will only spend $40-$50 on accessing any NBN or high-speed Internet services

Consumers want cheaper, not faster broadband, according to one of Internode’s senior staffers.

While recognising the potential benefits of a superfast National Broadband Network (NBN), such as the ability for high-definition (HD) video downloads, Internode carrier relations manager, John Lindsay, claimed price was the main concern for Internet subscribers.

“When consumers from a couple of years ago said ‘We want ADSL2+’, what they are actually saying is ‘We want cheaper Internet’,” Lindsay said at the Telecommunications Regulatory Reforms forum in Sydney. “However, the media and politicians heard ‘We want high-speed Internet’ . “Australia doesn’t have an access speed problem despite of everything you have seen from OECD graphs in the past; we actually have an access price problem. It’s all about affordability for end-users.”

Internode recently collaborated with fellow ISP, iiNet, to analyse data from their Sydney customer bases. Both parties wanted to determine the average line sychronisation speed of their ADSL2+ networks.

Data collected showed 50 per cent of subscribers ran on 12Mbps, while 90 per cent were getting at least 4Mbps – adequate for on-demand video streaming.

Lindsay estimated consumers generally wanted to pay $40-$50 for broadband access. Whether or not this will be a reality when the NBN is switched on is unclear as the cost for consumers will depend on the yet-to-be released NBN wholesale pricing table.

“[NBNco CEO], Mike Quigley has got a challenge: He has to come up with an access model, particularly for pricing, that fits with consumer expectation on spending of about $50 a month for their Internet service… and needs to generate some margin for retail service providers to make sure they can afford [to operate],” Lindsay said.