High downloading internet users should not expect to pay more on the National Broadband Network (NBN), as the retail service providers (RSP) will offset costs with customers who don't use as much, according to NBN Co's head of product development Jim Hassell.
NBN Co's Jim Hassell
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)
RSPs such as Internode have previously flagged that providers would not be able to offer the 1TB plans available today on the NBN due to the NBN Co's composite pricing model, which charges for bandwidth usage as well as for basic wholesale access.
However, speaking to ZDNet Australia after his presentation at CeBIT Australia in Sydney this afternoon, Hassell said that it should be no different for RSPs to manage these costs as they do today.
"The service providers will contend it and manage it with the NBN exactly as they do today," he said. "I think service providers have given us feedback and are worrying about things in the future that they're guessing on because they're not laid out at the moment."
Hassell said it was unlikely the pricing model would change in the near future, but that it would be tweaked if circumstances became different.
"It's not a static thing. We built the corporate plan on ... a robust set of assumptions, but as things change you do change things," he said. "If we find that take-up and usage is way in excess of our expectations ... that will just bring the price down more quickly. It's a straight-forward relationship."
He said that the NBN pricing was determined to be as low as possible to get as many customers on board.
"You're trying to encourage them onto it and you're trying to encourage them to use the speed that it gives, which is quite significant. You want people to get onto it but not at the [12Mbps/1Mbps] level, you want to get them using 25/5 or 50/20 service."
He said he understood Internode founder Simon Hackett's concerns about pricing, but noted that Hackett was also keen to be at every release site for the NBN.
Armidale's seven customers
Hassell addressed criticism from the Federal Opposition that just seven customers had been trialling the service at the launch of the NBN in Armidale earlier this month, saying the launch was specifically a trial to test the network, and that NBN Co needed customers who were prepared to be guinea pigs.
"We're really testing the network. The quality of service, the reliability, that we're able to recover in the event of an issue, and we'll make some of those issues happen so we can recover," he said. "That's why I say it is a pilot because you need to get some people who are quite OK while you run through that pilot.
"It's a pilot, it's deliberately designed to be low numbers while we complete that."