Over the past six months, internet service providers have made a raft of changes to their National Broadband Network (NBN) products in a bid to improve transparency with customers. Based on recommendations provided by the ACCC, the changes are supposed to make it easier to compare NBN products between different telcos. Here's what you need to know.
What’s my speed again?
It all started with how providers claimed plan speeds. Many referred to the nbn co wholesale products such as 12/1Mbps and added a nebulous “up to” phrase to the mix. As these names referred to theoretical speeds, they didn’t really help customers understand what they were getting for their money.
As a result, the ACCC proposed a naming convention as a guide for providers to consider when promoting their products: basic speed (for nbn12 plans), standard speed (nbn25), standard plus speed (nbn50) and premium speed (nbn100). Some providers followed the recommendation; however, others tasked their marketing department to come up with something else.
What really makes a difference for consumers is the recommendation from the ACCC for providers to display actual speeds that customers can expect during the busy evening period. Most RSPs now display the “Typical Evening Speed” consumers can expect between 7pm and 11pm on their websites, allowing people to compare plans.
These speeds are actual results from line speed measurements across a decent sample size and give a good representation to what customers should achieve at their home.
The bad word: congestion
Another great solution for consumers is the standard plus speed tier (nbn50) heavily pushed and incentivised by nbn co. The product is a result of increased customer demand for higher speeds – recent figures predict that 1.1 million users will move onto this speed tier by June 2018. Since its introduction we have seen many providers adding the higher speed tier to its portfolio, which triggered over 25% of current nbn users to choose this speed.
This growth comes as a result of both, incentives to RSPs from nbn co and a new wholesale pricing structure coming into effect later this year. This has enabled providers to offer customers cheaper access to more network capacity, tackling the industry’s congestion issue. According to nbn co’s latest progress report, congestion has shrunk from almost five hours to just 18 minutes. Australia is finally on its way to getting the fast home internet experience it deserves!
Ticking the boxes
My take out in one sentence: the things to check when on the hunt for a great nbn experience are - high speeds, unlimited data, no lock-in contracts, no additional activation fees and a fast activation. If your provider of choice ticks all those boxes, consider yourself a winner.
Rob Appel is Commercial Director for Broadband at amaysim.