news National broadband provider iiNet has revealed it is taking the lion’s share of customers who have connected to the National Broadband Network so far, with other large ISPs such as TPG lagging behind due to their unwillingness to engage with the new national network.
In late January, the National Broadband Network Company released its latest set of rollout statistics covering the period up to December 2012. At the end of December, the company said, it had some 34,500 customers using the NBN, with the majority of those (23,100) using satellite services, and the rest predominantly using the network’s fibre offerings.
In a statement released last week, iiNet revealed that more than 10,000 of those customers were its own. “Award-winning service provider iiNet has connected more than 10,000 customers to the National Broadband Network (NBN) across fibre, satellite, and fixed wireless services,” the company said. iiNet chief executive Michael Malone said the milestone reflected iiNet’s support of the project and experience in connecting customers to super-fast broadband.
“We’ve hit our stride when it comes to connecting people to the NBN quickly and smoothly, and getting access to Australia’s best internet with iiNet is hassle-free,” said Malone. “Best of all, no matter what NBN connection our customers receive, they can bank on getting our awesome customer service and support.”
“New customers can be confident connecting to the NBN with iiNet because we make the process simple, quick and jargon-free. We’ll also recommend the best plan for our existing customers to ensure switching to the NBN is easy,” the executive added. “As we’ve said before, the sooner we can connect more people to super-fast broadband the better and we’re looking forward to connecting thousands more as the rollout continues.”
iiNet and its sub-brand Internode were two of the earliest Australian ISPs to focus on providing services over the NBN, with the pair being some of the earliest to release prices for access to the network in mid to late 2011. Major players such as Telstra and Optus were slower to release equivalent NBN plans, and the fourth major player in the Australian market, TPG, has not yet released any formal pricing plans for the NBN, although it has promised at various stages to release so-called ‘unlimited’ NBN plans.
iiNet’s growing share of the NBN customer pool will dramatically change the market share dynamic of the Australian telecommunications market if it continues. Currently, Telstra remains the dominant player in the fixed-line telecommunications industry, with Optus, TPG and iiNet broadly dividing up many of the remaining customers between them. M2 Telecoms has recently emerged as a fifth major player following its acquisitions of People Telecom, Primus and Dodo, but its total market share is not yet clear.
Alone out of the major ISPs, TPG has chosen not to enter the NBN market so far. The company is believed to see the NBN as too much of an early stage endeavour for it to get involved in. In an unverified email which was posted this month on the forums of broadband site Whirlpool, the ISP appeared to respond to a customer inquiry on the issue by noting that “Many things around the NBN are still at a very, very early stage and we do not know yet how NBN services will be implemented or when they will be available, even in the areas recently announced.”
“Unfortunately, at this time there is not much information about the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout other than what you may know from NBN’s public announcements,” the company appeared to add.
“The NBN could not be rolled out nationally for years to come, and even when that time does come, we do not see that it will not affect any existing TPG customer who chooses to remain with us. We are confident that even after any NBN is implemented, TPG will continue to lead the market with value plans. In the mean time, TPG will continue to provide our customers with the best possible value broadband services.
Telstra’s market share in the early stage NBN market may also have been hampered by the fact that the telco still requires NBN customers to maintain their existing copper-based landline telephone connections to use use the NBN, despite the fact that they have fibre broadband connected.
I’m not surprised that iiNet is taking the lion’s share of NBN customers. The company, as well as its Internode brand, went in hard, and went in early to attract NBN customers, while most other ISPs were sitting on the sidelines still examining the whole process. In my view, this is a great thing, and I’ve long been an iiNet customer and consider the company to be currently the best ISP in Australia. However, I’m sure the big guns will get a lot more competitive as the NBN starts to achieve some scale, and of course Telstra and Optus have received funding from NBN Co to directly cut their customers over onto the NBN as it’s rolled out.
Image credit: iiNet