Right now, the maximum speed for a consumer connected to the fibre portion of National Broadband Network (NBN) is 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for upload. NBN Co today announced that it will begin offering a series of products that run up to 10 times that speed later this year. Anyone for gigabit?
NBN Co has announced that it will begin offering three new products to wholesalers in December: 250 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload for $70 per month; 500Mbps download/200Mbps upload for $100; and 1000Mbps/400Mbps for $150. As designed, the NBN has always been capable of handling those speeds (gigabit speeds were mentioned back in 2010), but the staged rollout (which is running behind schedule) meant they weren’t offered in the initial phases.
Note those are the prices paid by the wholesaler to NBN Co; anyone who purchases services based on those speeds will pay rather more, since companies selling NBN plans also need to pay for data transfers (and build in a profit margin). We’re not likely to know those prices until much later in the year.
NBN Co’s announcement underlines the fact that there does seem to be a strong demand for higher speeds — a relevant consideration when the Coalition alternative proposal for the NBN maxes out at 25Mbps for downloads and an as-yet unspecified figure for uploads. According to NBN Co, one-third of current fibre users have signed up for the highest speeds.
What will happen if there’s a change of government? If the Coalition version of the NBN goes ahead, anyone who isn’t already connected to the NBN won’t have the option of accessing that speed without upfront expenditure of their own. Those speeds simply can’t be sustained over copper. The Coalition plan proposes that people who want fibre connections directly to their homes or businesses will be able to pay to have that extended to the nearest NBN street cabinet. We don’t know how much that will cost, but conservative estimates so far suggest at least $2000.