Tasmania NBN Co goes into sale mode

The Tasmanian arm of NBN Co is approaching access seekers in preparation for the fibre network's July activation, but households will likely need to fork out at least $129 per month to get a 100Mbps service.

The Tasmanian arm of NBN Co has started approaching access seekers in preparation for the fibre network's July activation, but households will likely need to fork out at least $129 per month to get a 100Mbps service.

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Doug Campbell, head of NBN Tasmania (and Market Clarity CEO Shara Evans)
(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)

NBN Co has hired former Telstra executive Gary Searle who has been tasked with the job of negotiating access to the network.

"I can confirm that Gary Searle works for us and is working in the area of looking after retail service providers that are seeking access to the network," NBN Co Tasmania's general manager Doug Campbell told ZDNet.com.au.

Searle's initial focus in Tasmania has been on negotiating deals for the towns selected for early deployment by the Federal Government. Around 5000 households from Scottsdale in north east Tasmania, Smithton in the north west of the state, and Midway Point near Hobart are expected to have access to a 100Mbps service by July this year.

The take-up within these towns will likely depend on the service's cost. Campbell declined to comment on likely pricing; however, iiNet's regulatory affairs manager, Steve Dalby, said it hoped to offer pricing in Tasmania that was consistent with other areas it has a fibre-to-the-home product, such as the Alamanda Estate in Point Cook, Victoria.

iiNet currently offers households in the estate a 60GB off-peak and 60GB peak quota service with 100Mbps download and 5Mbps upload speeds for $129.95 per month, and a similarly structured 180GB service for $159.95 per month. At the low end, it also offers a 25Mbps download with 1Mbps upload service on a 10GB per month service for $49.

"We're working internally towards the same products we have in Alamanda, which are fibre to the home. We'd like to be offering the same set of products there off the NBN," Dalby said. "We reckon we're NBN-ready, so let's go to the next step."

Internode's carrier relations manager John Lindsay confirmed that it had been in contact with Searle, but declined to comment on likely pricing. Lindsay said he was "pleased" with the progress of the NBN's roll-out in Tasmania.

There has been some concern amongst carriers that households at Scottsdale, Midway Point and Smithton may not see the value in such high speed services, since they have never had access to such services.

Campbell said that NBN Co Tasmania would start community consultations and newsletter drops in conjunction with retail providers to convince users of the benefits of a high-speed service.

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