The ACCC says that as the pandemic continues to increase demand for broadband services, new consumers are continuing to be drawn mainly to the higher speed plans (50Mbps and above) - and within this group, the 50Mbps service remains the most popular plan, accounting for 57.5% of all connections.
The NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report also reveals that recently introduced premium high-speed products (with speeds of 100Mbps and above) have also experienced a jump in popularity, with connections to such services as “Home Fast” (up to 100/20Mbps), “Home Superfast” (250/25Mbps) and “Home Ultrafast” (at least 500/50Mbps), increased rapidly over the quarter from a low base. They still, however, only represent just over 2 per cent of all services.
“It is good to see a continuing increase in the number of products on offer, giving savvy consumers a range of differing plans to choose from,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
Sims says the reports shows that more than 7.8 million residential customers are already connected to the NBN, after the activation of 387,410 new services in the September 2020 Quarter.
However, the number of consumers on 12Mbps or 25Mbps plans rose only slightly, to nearly 2.4 million at the end of September 2020, as the share of consumers on lower speed plans is continuing to decline, now representing 30.4% of all connections.
“It is vital that broadband providers offer a variety of plans for all needs and budgets. Consumers should choose the plan that best works for them, and that doesn’t always mean the fastest,” Sims said.
The ACCC says Telstra continues to dominate the market with 45.7% of all wholesale services acquired from NBN, slightly down on last quarter, while TPG Telecom now accounts for 24.4% of all wholesale services following the merger with Vodafone, and Optus and Vocus market shares were relatively stable at 15.4% and 7.2% respectively.
Among the smaller players, Aussie Broadband increased its share from 3.5% last quarter to 3.9% in this quarter. Other small access seeker groups accounted for the remaining share of 3.3 per cent.
The ACCC notes that the number of wholesale providers connecting to all the NBN points of interconnect (POIs) remained stable this quarter, although the consolidation of TPG and Vodafone under one access seeker group means that there are now only 9 wholesale access groups at all 121 POIs, down from the 10 reported at the end of June - and there are 10 or more access seeker groups connected at 120 of the POIs.
In addition, total Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) - that is the total bandwidth acquired by Retail Service Providers (RSPs) - grew by a further 10 per cent to just over 20 Terabits per second.
CVC per user also increased over the quarter from 2.47Mbps to 2.59Mbps, a near 5% increase since last quarter.
The ACCC says the latest CVC figures reflect NBN Co’s extension of its temporary offer of additional 40% CVC capacity to RSPs, at no additional cost, in response to the COVID pandemic.
“It’s important that RSPs continue to acquire sufficient CVC to meet consumer demand, as this affects on user experience. Particularly at this time when Australians’ broadband connection has become a household essential for work, education and entertainment,” Sims said.