NBN makes pitch for affordable broadband

Finbar O’Mallon
(Australian Associated Press)


The federal government is hoping a new $60 per month NBN package will entice about half-a-million budget-conscious households to sign up to the network.

NBN Co will offer internet retailers a new low-cost bundle from October 1, which Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said retailers could sell to customers for $60 per month.

However, a company spokesman said retailers would not be required to sell the new bundle at that price, saying it was up to retailers.

Mr Fletcher on Tuesday said it was a matter for retailers when their customers would be able to access the new package.

These packages would have download speeds of up to 12 megabytes per second, with unlimited monthly data use.

The NBN Co spokesman said there were factors outside the company’s control, like the type of NBN infrastructure the customer had access to, which may affect maximum speeds.

The entry-level package would fall under the company’s definition of “basic evening speed”, with only “very basic internet usage” suitable under the connection during peak times.

A spokesman said this could still theoretically be suitable for video streaming.

Plans for the new low-cost bundle were laid out in a pricing consultation paper released on Tuesday by NBN Co, the government-owned company that runs the network.

It included lower prices for other high-speed connections it would offer retailers.

The paper also ruled out segregating types of video traffic flows.

Critics previously dubbed this a “Netflix tax”, saying it could see different prices for internet traffic used for video streaming.

The company said it had considered lowering the price of video streams.

Mr Fletcher said it was estimated about 500,000 households that had access to NBN infrastructure weren’t signing on because of “value for money” concerns.

“I think we’ve got a good chance of getting some of those people to come across to the NBN,” Mr Fletcher said.

He said it was unlikely faster mobile data speeds, like the upcoming roll out of 5G, would present a threat to the NBN.

The company’s chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said the lower cost bundle supported the NBN’s priority of pursuing a stronger take up.


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