National broadband provider iiNet today described the costs of connecting customers to the National Broadband Network as being similar to that of existing ADSL broadband services, breaking ranks with industry rivals who have complained about what they see as NBN Co’s extortionate pricing model.
In a financial results briefing this afternoon, the company’s chief executive Michael Malone said the release of iiNet’s commercial NBN pricing was “imminent” and would arrive in “weeks, rather than months”, following on from the launch of NBN pricing by rivals Internode and Exetel over the past month.
Malone didn’t provide any further details about what precisely iiNet will charge customers to connect to the predominantly fibre-based network. However, company briefing documents released today contained a slide which stated iiNet’s current costs for connecting customers to its own network were “similar to [the] proposed NBN” costs — at around $32 or $33 per month.
However, the costs came down dramatically, the slide revealed — from about $57 a month — for customers who were not currently using iiNet’s own network but were connecting through the ISP’s resold services from telcos like Telstra or Optus.
The statement puts iiNet at odds with Internode, which has consistently criticised NBN Co’s pricing scheme, arguing it would not allow smaller ISPs to compete nationally.
Several weeks ago, Internode became one of the first ISPs to launch commercial NBN pricing, with the company offering ‘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.
For a naked DSL broadband plan with an included Internet telephony line and speed of up to 25Mbps, iiNet currently charges between $69.95 a month and $119.95 a month. At the same speeds, the prices are comparable to Internode’s NBN pricing plans, although as you increase the speeds up to 50Mbps and then 100Mbps, costs go up. iiNet’s current NBN pricing in Tasmania ranges from $29.95 a month up to $99.95 a month, but these prices don’t reflect commercial NBN pricing.
The only other major ISP to have so far revealed commercial NBN pricing is Exetel, which significantly undercut Internode when it released its plans several weeks ago, with the cheapest option starting at $34.50 a month and the most expensive topping out at $99.50.
In a broader sense, on ADSL broadband pricing, iiNet’s Malone pointed out that currently, prices on broadband tended to “hold steady”, with customers paying more or less the same amount on an ongoing basis for broadband — but getting better value courtesy of increased download quotas or value-added services. “Five years ago they were getting 10GB for $50 and now they’re getting 200GB,” Malone said.
Image credit: iiNet