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Adelaide GigCity network switched on

The South Australian premier believes the network will attract business to the state.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The GigCity network in Adelaide was lit up on Tuesday, with the state government-funded network allowing customers to sign up for gigabit speeds.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the network made Adelaide one of the "most connected cities" on the planet.

"The state government is helping startups and companies grow faster and attract entrepreneurs to South Australia who want to tap into the infrastructure and business environment we are creating," he said.

In June, the government announced it had selected EscapeNet to be the internet service provider for the network.

Customers are able to choose from a trio of options under the current plans available. The lowest-tier is a "micro-business" AU$50 a month plan that offers 200GB of data, while the option of unlimited data is available for AU$100 a month. The third option is a AU$180 a month plan that has a 1TB monthly cap, with excess data sold at AU$55 for 500GB.

All plans offer 1 gigabit upload and download speeds, and have a one month minimum contract term.

In the South Australian Budget, AU$2.9 million was set aside over four years to extend the network into new precincts.

Alongside the state government network, the City of Adelaide is planning to deploy a 10Gbps network.

Throughout the rest of the country, the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network continues to state there is a lack of demand for gigabit connections, with its CEO Bill Morrow saying last week most users found a 25Mbps service satisfactory.

In a July speech, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said retail service providers (RSPs) had in turn blamed speed issues on NBN's connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charge.

"For RSPs the answer was clear. The general view we heard (from both large and smaller RSPs) was that with current CVC pricing, many were reluctant to sell these services," Sims said.

"That is, far from consumers not wanting higher speeds, RSPs were often not seeking to sell them, at least not at prices consumers are willing to pay. We heard their view that AU$60 per month is the average price point in the market for NBN services."

Sims said some retailers felt the CVC was more suited to a pure fibre to the premises network, where speed tiers could be guaranteed, something that is not possible under the multi-technology mix NBN that embraces fibre to the node.

Earlier this week, Morrow said the CVC was not at fault, and a land grab was taking place where some ISPs were cutting corners.

"The RSPs are between a rock and a hard place," Morrow said.

"Even though the consumer may be willing to pay more, the RSP can't raise their price on like-for-like offerings when other RSPs are setting their price to maintain and/or capture market share rather than make a reasonable profit."

Morrow said the average bit rate per user on the network was approximately 1Mbps.

"Under our pricing model, that could be doubled to 2Mbps for each end user for around an extra AU$5 per month," he said.

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