news The nation’s number two telco Optus has released a clutch of National Broadband Network pricing plans aimed at small businesses, and has also revealed it will expand its consumer broadband plans in March, adding more bundles and 24 month contracts.
The company released its first tranche of consumer NBN pricing in November last year, with the plans being favourably compared to its current ADSL and HFC cable broadband pricing. The NBN plans are virtually identical to Optus’ current consumer broadband pricing.
The small business broadband plans released today come at six different levels ranging from $59 per month up to $129 base cost, depending on whether you purchase a bundled home phone line, and how much download quota you need per month (from 100GB up to a terabyte). They feature basic broadband speeds of 25Mbps, which is one of the NBN’s equivalent speed tiers to today’s ADSL broadband, but customers can boost the speeds of their Optus broadband connections in tiers, for $5, $10 or $20 per month. $20 extra per month, for example, will get you 100Mbps speeds on an NBN connection.
The other major ISP to have released NBN business plans is iiNet. In some areas, Optus’ plans are dramatically cheaper than those of iiNet. For example, an iiNet business NBN plan with 40GB of quota and speeds of 25Mbps will cost customers $84.95 a month. However, Optus has a 100GB plan with the same speeds for just $59 per month. At the top end, the two ISPs are more comparable — for example, a terabyte plan at 100Mbps will cost Optus SME customers $139 per month, and iiNet customers $129.95 per month.
Customers can sign up to either 12 month or 24 month contracts on the plan. The plans will come with what Optus is describing as its ‘NBN Wi-Fi modem’, although it did not clarify what brand or model that modem would be.
The packages also come with a package which Optus dubs its ‘OfficeApps’ email and collaboration licence. The package bundles Google’s software as a service Apps office suite together with the ability for small businesses to register their own domain name and associate it with their email account, and a bulk SMS package called ‘webSMS’.
As with its consumer NBN broadband plans, Optus’ new small business NBN plans are very similar to its existing ADSL/HFC cable broadband plans. For example, the company offers naked (without a phone line) business broadband packages ranging from $49 a month with 10GB of data, to $119 per month with a terabyte of data. The $59, $89 and $119 price points are virtually identical with those price points in Optus’ NBN business plans. And the same is true of its bundled offerings.
In a statement issued by Optus this morning, Rohan Ganeson, Managing Director for Optus SMB said: “The NBN opens the door for small businesses to take advantage of high speed broadband to do business in new ways, and make use of the latest digital tools to be more efficient and competitive. When you consider that 48 per cent of Australian SMBs don’t have a website and only four per cent are using cloud solutions such as web-hosted email, there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to embrace digital technologies.
“Optus NBN packages have been designed to offer great flexibility and value and make it easier for smallbusinesses to take the leap into the digital world, from establishing an online presence to reach new customers,to running their applications in the cloud for 24/7 access to business data. We’ve also combined OfficeApps with our NBN offerings for the first time to give small businesses that competitive edge and help lower their operating costs.”
“This is the first of many NBN packages Optus will offer to help small businesses make the most of the NBN to enhance and grow their business,” Mr Ganeson said. “As the roll-out progresses, we’ll expand our NBN packages to cater for larger offices and add more Optus OfficeApps inclusions to help businesses run their operations faster and smarter.”
The telco also noted that in March it was planning to expand its range of consumer broadband and home phone bundles and introduce 24 month contract plans.
Once again we see that Optus has launched a range of NBN plans which are virtually identical to its existing offerings in ADSL/HFC cable broadband, lending further credence to the idea that broadband prices will not be higher under the National Broadband Network.
Last week, I wrote on Delimiter that it was “factually inaccurate” for the Coalition to continue to claim that broadband prices would be higher under the National Broadband Network. The Office of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has so far not responded to an invitation to comment on this issue. However, I would suggest that the release of Optus’ small business plans this morning is another nail in the coffin of that claim.
How long will it be until Turnbull and others within the Coalition admit they were wrong on this issue, or provide some evidence for their claims?