Small NBN providers are taking the competition to the nation’s telco giants, with Aussie Broadband becoming the first internet service provider (ISP) to unveil a new discounted high-speed plan.
The move follows the NBN Co’s announcement last month that it would offer new NBN speed and data bundles, and shave dollars off wholesale prices.
This followed a five-month Wholesale Pricing Review, which resulted in changes to data capacity, a discounted 25Mbps service to come into effect from December, and three new ‘high-speed’ tiers that will launch in May 2020.
However, consumer advocates warned the public would only benefit from the price cuts if retail ISPs passed on the savings to customers.
Aussie Broadband this week became the first ISP to respond to the changes by announcing that it would offer an unlimited 100/20 plan for residential customers for $89, 10 per cent cheaper than the ISP’s current 100/40 plan.
The firm said it believes the new 100/20 unlimited plan will become its main “hero” plan for residential customers.
“This option has half the upload speed but it’s more than 10 percent cheaper than the current 100/40 plan, coming in at $89,” Aussie Broadband managing director Phillip Brett said.
“Ultimately, these new higher speed plans provide an alternative affordable option for customers who don’t need to upload large files, documents or videos.
“Upload capacity is often more useful for small business owners like graphic designers or game designers, so we’ve kept it available in our small business plans.”
Aussie also said that it would re-introduce the entry-level 12/1 plan for customers with basic internet needs at $40 a month.
The consumer watchdog is currently reviewing whether entry-level NBN plans are sufficiently affordable.
Last month, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) warned that the high cost of access to the NBN is creating a digital divide in Australia.
More than one million households are currently locked out of the NBN due to its high cost, ACCAN analysis has found.
Aussie Broadband’s announcement came after the firm was named Australia’s best broadband provider by Product Review for the third year in a row.
The locally-owned and operated company has just 148,000 customers, but is one of a handful of smaller ISPS building a reputation for quality customer service and challenging major players Telstra, Optus, and TPG.
After the firm topped Roy Morgan’s customer satisfaction poll last month, the research firm’s chief executive Michele Levine said that small telcos are impressing customers and raising the bar of what’s expected.
“The ISP market has typically had relatively lower levels of customer satisfaction compared to other industries,” Ms Levine said.
“The strong performance of Aussie Broadband, which has serviced a small customer base from its regional Victorian headquarters in Morwell since 2008, shows that smaller ISPs catering to select client bases can raise the customer satisfaction bar for larger national competitors.”
NBN speed tiers
There are currently four NBN speed tiers available to residential customers:
- ‘Basic’ 12/1: Up to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload
- ‘Standard’ 25/10: Up to 25Mbps download and 10Mbps upload
- ‘Standard Plus’ 50/20: Up to 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload
- ‘Premium’ 100/40: Up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.
The new tiers are:
- 100/20: A 100Mbps/20Mbps bundle that will cost retailer service providers (RSPs) $7 less than the current top-speed 100/40 option
- 250/25: A 250Mbps/25Mbps
- 1000/50: A 1000Mbps/50Mbps.
Only the slowest of the new speed options – the ‘100/20 bundle’ offering download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds up to 20Mbps – will be available to all fixed-line NBN households.
The NBN Co will launch a “Hot 100” campaign from January 1, dropping the wholesale price RSPs are paying for the current 100/40 bundle to match that of the forthcoming 100/20 bundle as an “interim measure until the new 100/20 product is launched in May 2020”.