Oh dear. iiNet is going to stop selling its satellite-based National Broadband Network (NBN) services for remote customers. The reason? Demand is so high that the satellites in question are overloaded and customers can’t get acceptable performance.
Existing customers can continue using their plans, but iiNet and sub-brands Westnet and TransACT have stopped signing up new customers. “iiNet is committed to providing high-quality broadband, so in order to meet our own customer service objectives, we could not continue to offer a service markedly below both our own and our customer’s expectations,” iiNet CEO Michael Malone said in a statement. “During occasional peak periods the service was so slow as to be almost unusable.”
Demand for the satellite NBN services, which run at 6Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads, is clearly strong. An estimated 42,000 Australians are using the interim service, ahead of a planned 2015 deployment of a higher-speed replacement.
In August, iiNet dropped its 20GB/month satellite plan, but that doesn’t seem to have quelled demand. Other providers are still selling NBN satellite plans, but it seems unlikely deployment of the replacement satellite will happen any earlier than 2015, especially with the future deployment of the main NBN an open question until the current assessment of progress and demand is completed.