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NBN Co has announced it will begin offering a one gigabit service to service providers in December.

Proponents of the NBN fibre network have often pointed out that it provided the potential for significantly faster speeds than those currently offered, and NBN Co foreshadowed a gigabit service back in 2010.

Today, the company announced that service providers will be able to order one gigabit services starting in December. The upload speed will be 400Mbps.

"Consumers will not need any additional NBN equipment in order to receive the new product," NBN Co officials stated.

Households and businesses that want something between the current maximum speed of 100Mbps and 1Gbps will be catered for with two intermediate speed tiers of 250Mbps (100Mbps up) and 500Mbps (200Mbps up).

Some customers - for example businesses with on-site servers and a significant number of teleworkers - may be more interested in the increased upload speeds than the headline download rates.

According to NBN Co, the fibre network is designed to deliver the quoted speeds to its wholesale customers.

A footnote to the announcement reads "Speeds actually achieved by retail customers (end users) will depend on a number of factors including the quality of their equipment and in-premises connection, the broadband plans offered by their service provider and how their service provider designs its network to cater for multiple end users."

The wholesale prices applying to the new tiers are $70 (250/100), $100 (500/200) and $150 (1000/400).

iTWire has yet to hear from ISPs about the retail prices that will apply to the faster tiers. For comparison, a 25/5Mbps service that wholesales at $27 has a retail price starting around $55, depending on the amount of data that can be transferred each month.

"We are confident there will be a healthy market for higher speed tiers. Global broadband leaders such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States already offer one gigabit connections to homes and businesses," said NBN Co head of product and sales John Simon.

"A third of fibre users already subscribe to the fastest speeds available. They're also downloading around 50 per cent more data than the average Australian broadband connection each month and uploading an average of 14GB per month."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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