The National Broadband Network Company has taken to YouTube to defend the early NBN pricing plans unveiled by Internode this week, arguing the ISP’s plans compare “very favourably” to current options in Australia’s broadband market.
Internode will only offer so-called ‘bundled’ plans which come with a telephone connection and prices starting at $59.95 a month and ranging up to $189.95 for a plan with 100Mbps speeds and a terabyte of quota. Although many of the plans are comparable in price to current ADSL services at similar speeds, the company’s prices have already been attacked by the Coalition, with Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull claiming the pricing undercut the argument for the NBN.
Speaking in a video published on YouTube yesterday, NBN Co head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, said it was “great to see the first plans” from the company’s retail ISP customers.
“They’ve put a range of plans in the marketplace, from basic Internet broadband service plus telephone, which compares very favourably to existing plans in the marketplace,” Hassell added “and goes through a whole range of levels of speed up to some significantly faster speeds than people can get in their homes now, at what I think are some very good prices.”
Hassell said there was “a great deal of confusion” in the market about what customers would actually get under the NBN, so he said it was worth pointing out that NBN Co end users would get a broadband service plus a telephone line.
“Quite often you see with people’s plans, those things are separated out. So if you’re comparing prices and comparing plans, remember to compare broadband plus telephone services and how they are and that will give you the total price that you’ll pay,” the executive said.
Hassell also pointed out with respect to the pricing debate that the range of speeds which customers could get from NBN services was broader than that available under current ADSL broadband plans.
“Some of the speeds which we’re we’re in people’s homes across a fibre network are significantly increased from what people could previously get across a copper network,” he said. “Those speeds in themselves start to offer new opportunities for applications across a whole range of areas, from entertainment to education, to health, and we’re already starting to see some of those come out, and we’ll see more and more of those come out as we roll out the network.”
Conroy told ABC Radio’s AM program this this week that the Government was also disappointed with the points of interconnect decision, which was made by the national competition regulator, but exhorted observers to remain patient on the pricing issue.
“There are many companies yet to put their pricing in and we expect to see robust competition taking place which will see consumers better off because of NBN as pricing becomes more and more competitive,” he said. Since Internode released its plans, other ISPs have also started to come out with alternative pricing plans. iTNews has reported, for example, that cut-price ISP Dodo has already revealed plans to introduce a NBN plan below $40 on the NBN in coming months.