Almost half of all NBN users now on 50Mbps or faster

Of all NBN users, around 44 percent are now on speeds of 50Mbps and above, with 70 percent of all new customers now ordering across the higher speed tiers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) company has said that 70 percent of new customers are now ordering speeds of 50Mbps or higher, attributing the rise to its changes in wholesale pricing from December.

As a result, around 44 percent of all NBN-connected premises are on speeds of 50Mbps or higher, up from 16 percent in May last year.

Average bandwidth congestion has simultaneously reduced, NBN added, from five hours and 42 minutes per service per week a year ago to 18 minutes currently. Just 0.089 percent of fixed-line customers have experienced network congestion, according to NBN.

"Our work with industry is showing early signs of paying off, with our insights indicating that new customers who connect to the network are generally more satisfied with their broadband service than before we introduced our new wholesale discount options," NBN chief customer officer of Residential Brad Whitcomb said.

"It's important for people connecting to the NBN access network to understand how to pick a speed tier and retail plan that suits their needs."

Installations performed right the first time are now up to 91 percent, while 94 percent of premises are connected within the time frames agreed with retail service providers.

NBN's monthly progress report also stated that the network is now available 100 percent of the time, with 90 percent of faults resolved within the agreed time frames, jumping from 59 percent a year ago.

NBN last month said it had 1.3 million premises on 50Mbps plans, after saying earlier this year that it expected to have 1.2 million people on 50Mbps speeds by June.

NBN had launched its new wholesale pricing in May, with a discount of its 50/20Mbps speed tier from December leading more than 1 million premises to upgrade their speed. Under the changes, NBN's access and bandwidth charges were also bundled together across connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) and access virtual circuit (AVC) for the two top-tier plans.

Thanks to its previous wholesale pricing discounts, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in February said RSPs had increased their CVC capacity, with a rise of 38 percent in the quarter to December.

According to ACCC chair Rod Sims, the average NBN CVC bought by retailers per user increased from 1.11Mbps to 1.53Mbps, with NBN contracted to supply 5,385Gbps of CVC capacity by the end of December.

This followed NBN providing RSPs with a temporary credit for acquiring 50 percent more CVC, and pricing 50Mbps AVC the same as 25Mbps.

The 50Mbps wholesale bundle costs retail service providers AU$45 per month -- a 27 percent discount -- and includes 2Mbps of bandwidth, while the 100Mbps wholesale bundle was reduced by 10 percent to cost AU$65 for 2.5Mbps of included capacity.

The ACCC also found in its first fixed-line broadband speed monitoring report that NBN retailers are delivering up to 90 percent of their speed tier promises during peak hours, with Telstra, Optus, TPG, and iiNet delivering between 80 and 90 percent of their speeds at all times, including the busy hours of between 7pm and 11pm.

According to Sims, the results "reflect significant and recent changes in the market", including NBN's CVC discounts and the ACCC's speed advertising guidance.

By the end of the March quarter, NBN had 3.7 million total end users: 1.8 million on FttN, 1.2 million on fibre to the premises (FttP), 413,703 on HFC, 226,901 on fixed-wireless, and 87,478 on satellite.

NBN last month also said it is now focusing overhauling its wholesale fixed-wireless pricing, kicking off consultation with retail service providers on pricing bundles, which it aims to have ready by the end of September.

After CEO Bill Morrow recently revealed during Senate Estimates that NBN had killed off its plans to offer 100Mbps fixed-wireless, NBN also said it will undertake consultation on a new offering that "better aligns to the capability of the network".

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