Thursday, 20 June 2019 05:29

NBN Co set to issue wholesale pricing review paper Featured

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NBN Co set to issue wholesale pricing review paper Pixabay

The NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, is set to issue a wholesale pricing review to a number of telecommunications providers on Thursday in a bid to quell disquiet in the industry.

The review will reportedly propose methods to increase the margins that telcos can make by reselling NBN services, something they have complained about for a long time.

It is expected to focus on improving customer experience, reaching segments of the population who are not served properly by the service — like the poor and renters — and improving the earnings for the company, RSPs and users.

In an embargoed announcement issued on Wednesday night, NBN Co said it was considering the possible introduction of a new 100/20 wholesale product.

It also said it was increasing the wholesale CVC inclusion from 2.5Mbps to 3Mpbs for the Bundle 100 and above Discounts.

But the cost of the Wholesale Bundle 100 Discount would not change from $65 and the CVC inclusion change would take effect in September. Existing dimension-based discounts for RSPs have been extended until 30 June 2020.

There have been complaints aplenty from telcos about their inability to make a profit while reselling the NBN Co's current offerings.

Most recently, the Tasmania-based Launtel said it was thinking of dropping its 250/100Mbps plan in Canberra due to the high cost of CVC.

In April, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's chief Rod Sims said the NBN Co's pricing, introduced in the six months prior, had led to the cost of basic NBN plans becoming an affordability issue for Australians on lower incomes.

He said NBN plans were more expensive than the equivalent ADSL plans, pointing out that an ADSL Internet and voice plan with 100Gb of data cost about $50 a month. And, Sims added, an ADSL plan with unlimited data was available for about $60.

The wholesale cost of accessing the NBN to supply a 12Mbps service — which many ISPs no longer offer — had increased by leaps and bounds and was now almost the cost of a 50Mbps service.

In February, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, a lobby group for users, called for providing a wholesale broadband concession to that those on lower incomes could get cheaper broadband connections at home.

ACCAN said a 50Mbps plan that provided unlimited data should be offered at a wholesale price of $20 by NBN Co.

This would mean an average price of $30 per month for households who were eligible to subscribe to this plan - almost half the existing cost.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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