ACCC sees NBN hope in tiny CVC increase

An average increase of 0.2Mbps of CVC has been labelled as 'encouraging' by ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The September 30, 2017 edition of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report has seen the light of day, and the ACCC is welcoming what it sees as increased competition and encouraging signs in connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) growth.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims latched onto the report showing the average National Broadband Network (NBN) CVC bought by retailers per users increasing from 1.09Mbps to 1.11Mbps.

"This is encouraging, as provisioning adequate CVC is essential if RSPs are to ensure households and businesses can get the speeds they are promised," Sims said.

Pointing to more retailers connecting to a higher number of NBN points of interconnect, Sims said it is a "clear indication" of increased competition.

"Some of the small players are experiencing rapid growth, and this shows promise for future competition," he said.

"Direct connection will allow smaller retail service providers to have more control over their network in terms of how much CVC they provision."

Last week, the ACCC announced it would be conducting a public inquiry into the appropriateness of the wholesale service standard levels for NBN.

"We are very concerned about the high number of complaints from consumers around poor customer experiences, particularly in relation to customers connecting to NBN services and having faults repaired," Sims said at the time.

The ACCC on Wednesday said Telstra will be compensating around 42,000 NBN customers for not providing them with the speeds advertised in their plans.

According to the ACCC, around 56 percent of Telstra's fibre-to-the-node customers on its 100/40Mbps speed tier could not receive the advertised speed, which amounted to 26,497 customers. Most damning for NBN, over 9,000 or 2 percent of Telstra's 25/5Mbps FttN customers could not receive the minimum mandated speed capability for the network, while 13 fibre-to-the-basement customers could not reach 12Mbps.

The ABC reported on Thursday that Optus will soon follow Telstra's lead and look to refund customers.

In its earnings call for Q2, Optus would not be drawn on when it will make a full announcement of its compensation plans, nor how many customers have been affected.

The September 30 edition of the NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report showed an increase in the percentage of users on the slowest 12/1Mbps plan on offer, with the network continuing to coalesce around the two slowest speed tiers.

A rare bright spot showed fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) and hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) users increased their uptake of 100Mbps plans in percentage terms.

In the three months to September 30, the number of users on 1Gbps FttP plans jumped from 43 to 162.

As a whole, NBN now serves over 3 million premises.

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