iiNet keen for HFC competition

iiNet has said the opening up of the HFC networks owned by Telstra and Optus to the NBN will help the company woo new customers in those areas.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Australia's third-largest internet provider, iiNet, has told investors it is keen to see the HFC networks owned by Telstra and Optus opened up to competition as part of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Under the Coalition's revised National Broadband Network policy, it is expected that close to 3 million premises across Australia will be serviced by the existing hybrid fibre-coaxial networks installed by Optus and Telstra almost 15 years ago in the peak of the cable television wars in Australia.

Under the current agreements with NBN Co, the companies are being paid to transfer their cable customers over to the fibre to the premises NBN, but NBN Co is in the midst of renegotiating these agreements with a view to transfer ownership of these cables to NBN Co.

NBN Co has said it would then adapt the cables for use in the NBN where the company says it will be able to provide download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and then be able to roll out HFC to premises that are currently overlooked within the footprint of the Telstra and Optus cable networks.

Should NBN Co be successful in making the cable networks fit for purpose, and open access to all retail services providers, iiNet told investors in a Goldman Sachs presentation given yesterday that the premises in the HFC areas would be "open to more effective competition."

More broadly, iiNet's heavy marketing campaign in new NBN rollout areas has paid off, with the company stating that it has over 36,000 customers on the NBN, with a 25 percent marketshare in new housing estates connected to the fibre, and a 20 percent market share in existing housing areas on the fibre.

Over half of the customers signing up to iiNet on the NBN weren't iiNet customers previously, the company said.

Approximately 75 percent of iiNet's NBN customers are on fibre, with 19 percent on the interim satellite service, and 6 percent on the fixed-wireless network.

70 percent of iiNet's customers were opting for speeds higher than the 12Mbps down, 1Mbps up basic package on the NBN.

It comes as the company yesterday released the findings of a survey of 1,200 Australians that found two-thirds of the population believed the NBN was optional, and they could keep their existing fixed line connection, while 8 percent of the population had not even heard of the AU$29.5 billion government project.

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