NBN resellers improving bandwidth after temporary CVC pricing offer: ACCC
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission found that NBN resellers are buying up more bandwidth, reporting a 38 percent increase in uptake of connectivity virtual circuit (CVC).
The regulator’s latest Wholesale Market Indicators Report found that CVC acquired by NBN resellers in the three months up to December had gone up from 1.11Mbps to 1.53Mbps per user since the quarter ending September 2017.
This comes after NBN Co offered resellers a temporary credit offer for acquiring 50 percent more CVC per user, which also included selling 50Mbps connections for the price of 25Mbps connections.
NBN speeds from iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG improving but still held back by FTTN: ACCC
NBN broadband services were still being held back by fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connections, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.
According to a report from the consumer watchdog, services from iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG have improved, but were yet to meet maximum plan speeds in peak evening hours, delivering between 80 to 90 percent of potential maximum speeds during the busy evening hours.
The regulator's findings, detailed in a report as part of its Measuring Broadband Australia program, also found that around five percent of services tested operated at less than 50 percent of their maximum plan speeds.
NBN Co launched its fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) access technology, with a limited release for a number of homes and businesses in Melbourne and Sydney.
Some 1000 homes and businesses in the suburbs of Coburg in Melbourne and Miranda in Sydney received the new technology, with the aim of “optimising the customer experience” before releasing a larger footprint in the second half of this year.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that NBN Co is an adopter of new and innovative technologies to provide Australians with access to fast broadband,” NBN Co chief customer officer for residential Brad Whitcomb said.
ACMA drafts new rules for NBN migration to bolster consumer protections
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) handed down a set of new rules aiming to protect consumers moving to the NBN.
The authority is looking to make changes to how NBN providers make critical information available to customers, to ensure that new connections to the NBN are working effectively and that customers are not left without a working internet service for an extended period of time when migrating to the NBN.
“The migration to the NBN is a complex task for industry and consumers. These rules are designed to address consumer ‘pain points’ in the process,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
NBN Co relaunched its wholesale hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) services to retailers in April, following the launch of fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) earlier that month.
The company released some 1000 premises in its HFC access network footprint in Melbourne and Sydney, with another 38,000 to be released in June in select areas across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
“We are pleased with the improvements seen from the additional work undertaken while sales have been paused on the HFC network,” NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow said.
NBN pricing changes sees customer activations soar
NBN Co saw a surge in activations and revenue for its third quarter, which it attributed to optimisation work on its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network and its changes to wholesale pricing offers.
The network provider had a total of 3.7 million activations for the period ending 31 March, up from 2 million in the same period last year. Revenue meanwhile came in at $1.4 billion, up 112 percent from $665 million in the period ending 31 March 2017.
The company also said that some 6.5 million premises were ready to connect to its broadband access network, with 7.5 premises ready for service.
ACMA rules that telcos must roll back customer internet if there are NBN delays
The Australian Communications and Media Authority introduced a new industry standard to ensure households aren't left without internet for weeks on end while transitioning internet services to the NBN.
The new Service Continuity Standard required that carrier service providers (CSPs) and NBN Co do not disconnect existing broadband services for customers until a new NBN service is working and has been tested.
CSPs must provide a legacy service or replacement service to customers within three working days in most scenarios if the migration is unlikely to be completed by then. The time limit is extended to five working days for urban areas and 10 days for rural areas.
NBN compares challenges with FTTC rollout to original FTTP network
NBN Co revealed that a shortage in specialist workers, remediation work and “substantial” civil works involved have made the rollout of its fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) network challenging.
Posting on the network provider’s blog, NBN Co chief network deployment officer Kathrine Dyer said FTTC was a lot more complex to roll out compared to the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network and was “far more akin” to the original fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout.
“While FTTC design and construction is not as problematic as the original FTTP build, the introduction of innovations such as ‘skinny fibre’ and not needing to go all the way into the premises itself, it is a much more complex build than FTTN because we are deploying and building so much deeper into the community,” Dyer wrote.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman released its findings and recommendations following a review on the loss of telephone numbers during NBN migrations, noting examples of losses of fixed-line telephone numbers from consumer action, inaction as well as provider error.
Between July and December 2017, the TIO received 661 complaints from both small business and residential consumers about telephone number problems relating to services delivered over the NBN.
Noticing a pattern aligning with the rate of the NBN rollout, the TIO wrote to 23 retail service providers (RSPs), requesting information about number loss and complaints, with 20 of the 23 responding. All respondents had at least one complaint to the ombudsman from a customer who had lost their number during migration.
NBN speeds getting faster, but telcos still "underperfoming"
Australia's telcos started getting closer to offering the maximum download speeds they advertise on the NBN, but there's still room for improvement.
About 70 percent of customers are able to reach download speeds above 90 percent of the maximum plan speeds, but seven percent of customers achieved less than half of the maximum speed advertised.
The statistics came from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's second quarterly report into broadband speeds which focused on the impact that underperforming service had on overall download speeds.
The number of households switching to faster NBN plans increased to the point where a third of NBN users are now speeds of 50Mbps.
NBN services on 50Mbps plans increased 47 percent in the quarter ending 30 June to nearly 1.5 million according the ACCC's tenth quarterly wholesale market indicators report, compared to just 159,000 in December last year.
Overall, NBN supplied 4.13 million wholesale residential broadband access services by the end of the June quarter.
NBN Co doubles revenue to $2 billion with increased activations
NBN Co beat its own estimates as it inched closer to $2 billion for the year, off the back of increased activations and average revenue per user.
The network provider raked in $1.98 billion for the 12 months to 30 June, up 98 percent from $1.01 billion in 2017. It also beat its own estimate of $1.9 billion as laid out in its 2018-2021 corporate plan. The company expects revenue to reach $5.4 billion in 2021.
Growth was driven by a 65 percent increase in activations to 4 million, compared to last year’s 2.4 million. Average revenue per user also increased to $44, compared to last year’s $43. The network is now 70 percent complete, with another 5 percent completed in August.
NBN Co increased the budget of its national network build by $2 billion as a result of the temporary shut down of its troubled HFC rollout in 2017 and increased investments in its fixed wireless network.
The company announced its new corporate plan in August and reported expected peak funding requirements had reached $51 billion, which includes a $1 billion contingency to “accommodate for any risks in the complex final stages of the build”.
“The increase from the estimated $49 billion base case is the result of the HFC pause and deferred revenues, the introduction of wholesale pricing bundle discounts and additional investment in the fixed wireless network,” NBN Co reported.
NBN to pay rebates to retail service providers for late connections, missed appointments
NBN Co agreed to improve its wholesale arrangements with retail service providers, including the payment of rebates on late connections and fault fixes.
The network builder accepted a court-enforceable undertaking as part of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards, which started in late 2017 to consider whether the NBN’s wholesale service standards were appropriate.
The core improvements agreed to by NBN Co are:
NBN Co will pay a $25 rebate to RSPs for every late connection and fault rectification.
NBN Co will introduce a new $25 rebate to RSPs for each missed appointment.
NBN Co will simplify the process for RSPs to receive rebates and remove some conditions for claiming rebates.
NBN Co announced the doubling of capacity on its 60,000km fibre network, after it delivered an update it expects will deliver broadband to more customers seeking more data.
The network provider reported it could increase its maximum transit capacity from 9.6 terabits per second (Tbps) to 19.2Tbps per fibre link.
The first of the upgrades will serve high-traffic fibre links between Eastern Creek and Asquith in Sydney. The 3600km network route between Brisbane and Darwin was also upgraded and will go live in December. Transit capacity upgrades will then roll out in stages across the country.
NBN speeds improve for most, but some are getting left behind
Most customers saw their NBN speeds improve across the board, but there were still a small number of Australians beset by internet services much slower than what they paid for.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's third Measuring Broadband Australia report revealed that 69 percent of the tests it conducted achieved download speeds above 90 percent of the maximum plan speeds they were advertised.
However, seven percent of recorded tests came back with speeds less than 50 percent of the maximum.
NBN Co unveiled new plans for its Sky Muster satellite service that will no longer count the use of email, general web browsing and critical software updates towards monthly data allowances.
The plans will also get a download speed boost above the preset 25Mbps wholesale speed where applications and network support allows.
“The launch of our Sky Muster Plus product is another demonstration of our unwavering commitment to regional and rural Australians living in some of the most far-flung regions of our vast outback,” NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue said.
NBN looks to businesses for revenue per user uplift
NBN Co is hoping its growing focus on the business market will contribute “around half” of the overall average revenue per user (ARPU) uplift it is targeting by 2022.
CEO Stephen Rue told the company’s Q1 results briefing in November that NBN Co would not have to lift its wholesale prices in order to achieve a $51 ARPU as has always been envisioned by the corporate plan.
“I want to address some misconceptions around ARPU targets and wholesale pricing. ARPU and prices are not the same thing,” Rue said.
NBN Co previews upcoming wholesale discount bundles for businesses
NBN Co offered a preview of the new wholesale discounts for fixed line connections aimed at business customers that the company plans to bring out early next year.
The discounts would allow retailer service providers to "deliver significant savings" under the new "Business NBN" banner, which will combine high internet speeds with committed bandwidth and premium service levels, according to NBN Co.
NBN Co was light on the details, but mentioned a few of the new wholesale discount bundles that will be on offer, which includes:
Wholesale speeds of 50/20Mbps optimised for smaller businesses;
Wholesale speeds of 100/40Mbps with support for multiple phone lines for medium-sized businesses
Wholesale symmetrical committed speeds of 20/20Mbps and a 100/40Mbps peak information rate
Wholesale symmetrical committed speeds of 50/50Mbps and a 250/100Mbps peak information rate for data-intensive and multi-site organisations
NBN Co announced a relaunch for its fixed wireless services that will see the product reach 75 Mbps download speeds in 2020.
The relaunch is a child of necessity and innovation.
The necessity is an ACMA edict to spectrum users in the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz bands that requires a new interference management regime that includes specified downlink and uplink network configuration measures. The effect of that edict is that NBN Co will have to withdraw its current wholesale 25-50/5-20 Mbps products by the end of 2019.