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ACCC adopting a wait-and-see approach to NBN promo upgrades

Watchdog is happy that speeds and capacity are up, but will wait to see what happens when NBN promos finish.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said it is pleased that users are jumping up NBN speed tiers thanks to NBN promotions such as "Focus on Fast".

In its latest Wholesale Market Indictors report, the ACCC said the number of connections on 12/1Mbps plans dropped by 47,500 to be back under 1 million at 968,600, a quarter of a million connections left 25/5Mbps tier to sit at 1,067,000, while 50/20Mbps gained 314,000 connections to now have 4.59 million lines.

At the higher end of the market, an extra 23,200 lines joined the 100/20Mbps tier to take it to 373,000, almost 19,000 dropped off 100/40Mbps tier leaving it on 634,000, and over 72,000 lines in aggregate took up the 250/25Mbps speed.

"Most broadband customers are now using higher speed tiers and that is a result of more retail providers and NBN promoting higher speed plans," ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

"Retailers may revert to standard pricing for premium services once a promotion ends, and we urge customers to monitor their usage to make sure that their service meets their ongoing needs."

For average capacity on the network, the ACCC said acquired CVC was averaging out at 2.74Mbps per customer, which represented a 9.2% increase.

"We are pleased that retail providers are acquiring additional capacity to support network demand and keep consumers connected," Ms Brakey said.

"The ACCC will continue to monitor CVC to see what effect the end of the 'Focus on Fast' promotion has on it."

In terms of retailers, Telstra experienced the biggest shift, with 12,000 fewer 12Mbps connections and almost 253,000 25 lines shifting away, while gaining an extra 276,000 50 connections at the end of June. The 100Mbps tier experienced a reduction of 28,500 connections, and the 250Mbps gained an extra 38,000 lines.

Last quarter, TPG shifted customers around in response to NBN promotions. The telco said it was purchasing more wholesale 250Mbps and 1Gbps access, and gifting speed increases to users on 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans.

Speaking after the telco posted its first-half results earlier on Friday, TPG CEO Iñaki Berroeta said the telco was targeting its 12Mbps customers with its 4G fixed wireless product, which makes the telco more money.

Departing CFO Stephen Banfield said the company does not unilaterally switch users onto its more profitable on-net services.

"We are reaching out to our customers with very compelling offers to invite them to move across to fixed wireless," Benfield said.

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