NBN open to creating prepaid plans with telcos

CEO Stephen Rue says the broadband wholesaler is engaged in ongoing discussions about low-income products.

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National Broadband Network CEO Stephen Rue told an Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) conference on Wednesday that the broadband wholesaler is open to the idea of consumers being able to purchase a prepaid NBN plan.

"We sell our services through retailers, and we'd be very happy to work with retailers to the extent that they want to bring in prepaid products that services a portion of the community and we'd be very happy to work with them," he said.

"We ourselves, we don't sell directly to consumers."

NBN is currently involved in a Special Access Undertaking consultation that has seen the wholesaler float three possible future pricing options.

On the options put forward by NBN, ACCAN said the halfway house model that removes CVC on plans of 100Mbps and quicker was the least worst choice, followed by the reworking of its current pricing structure, and finally the flat priced model that removes CVC altogether.

At the time in August, ACCAN called on NBN to introduce its low-income product before current pricing discussions were completed due to New South Wales being in lockdown.

"NBN Co has been consulting on a low-income product for vulnerable households since 2019, and we were led to believe that this much needed product would finally come to market this year. We're still waiting," ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said.

"People need connectivity now; they can't afford to wait for months and months until the regulatory process is over."

ACCAN said in its submission that the entry-level plan should be the 25Mbps plan, not the current 12Mbps.

On Wednesday, Corbin confirmed the prepaid option was raised in conversations around NBN pricing.

"We've had on the table on offer to work with industry around a low-income product or the sort of new product ... with the prepaid," Rue said.

"It's an ongoing discussion."

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