NBN Co should stick to network construction, not retail services: iiNet

The ISP supports the Strategic Review, but claims NBN Co should allow step back from the design of retail services

Although iiNet supports the NBN Co's Strategic Review of the National Broadband Network, acting CEO, David Buckingham, said it needs to take a step back from the retail services space.

In his blog, Buckingham stated the Internet service provider (ISP) is "encouraged by the extra investment outlined in the review and the 2019 completion target."

At the same time, though, he said that during this period of re-examination by the Government, NBN Co should take a step back from the design of retail services as it is "a responsibility best left to expert retailers."

iiNet has been providing NBN services for four years. Buckingham said the company's focus is on understanding customers and the range and types of services they require. He believes NBN Co should therefore limit its focus to network construction as service providers are better positioned to respond to customer demand and design products and services based on direct market feedback.

"This review seems preoccupied with download speeds and households, and ignores the small business owners who are set to benefit the most from improved performance," Buckingham said.

"The hundreds of business we've connected are looking for products designed for their needs, not those designed by a wholesale network operator. In our experience, businesses are looking for significantly greater upload speeds to allow them to operate more productively and to expand their market like never before."

NBN Co yesterday advised the Government that the NBN is forecast to miss its completion date by three years, and would cost $73 billion to complete.

However, executive chairman, Ziggy Switkowski, claimed it could be rolled out faster and at a lower cost if an alternative approach combining "proven technologies with existing capable networks" were employed. The new model recommends sacrificing the fibre-to-the-premises-only rollout.

A statement from NBN Co states the new model would be "embracing a range of technologies including fibre-to-the-node and HFC, alongside fibre-to-the-premises, fixed wireless, satellite as well as future advances in telecommunications technology."