NBN Co says that since December 2017, orders for wholesale speed tiers of 50 Mbps or higher have almost tripled 16 percent to 44 percent and average bandwidth network congestion reduced from more than five hours to less than 30 minutes per service per week compared to this time last year. This numbers exclude the Sky Muster satellite service that's been deployed in rural areas.
The company said new wholesale discount options that support internet providers in reducing bandwidth congestion and selling higher speed broadband retail plans are behind the shift.
NBN Co didn't mention people actually wanting faster connections has being behind the shift with the number of customers ordering sub-25 MBps connections dropping from 82 percent in January this year to just 56 percent in May.
NBN Co’s Chief Customer Officer for Residential, Brad Whitcomb, said “Our latest progress report shows in the last year we have also improved our ability to work with internet providers to restore faults on the network within our agreed time frames by 30 percent. We know there is more work to be done and will continue to collaborate with the industry as the rollout gathers pace.”
In their monthly report, the company says "right first time" installation rates have improved from 88 percent in May last year to 94 percent in May 2018. While it's probably not reasonable to expect perfect results every time, that's a welcome improvement, as are improvements in connections being completed within agreed timeframes.
The most stunning improvement comes in the percentage of faults that NBN Co resolves within the timeframes agreed with phone and internet providers. That's jump from 39 percent in May 2017 to 90 percent in May 2018.
The improvements in service delivery are very welcome and the numbers seem to be heading in the right direction with improvement continuing.
What's interesting is that the policy decision that 25Mbps is considered an adequate broadband connections being challenged. Customers are moving away from slower services as their needs change. That single connection to the internet is not just a communications tool for web browsing, social media and email. It's replacing the TV antenna and phone line and people are realising they need increased capacity to accomodate all those needs.
We've commented on the multi-technology mix approach NBN Co was directed to take by the government before and the arguments about whether this approach is the most effective at building the network quickly or whether the technology choice is best will continue. What we are learning from the market is something many people said back in the earliest days for the NBN project.
Back then, there were many people who said the kinds of connections speeds that were promised were unnecessary. That's not what we are seeing. Many people believed that if a fast network was built that customers would choose it. That's what we're seeing. In December 2017, the number of people ordering a 50 Mbps or faster service was 18 percent. In January this year, it was 25 percent and that proportion has increased each month.
As the NBN's Field of Dreams is being built, the customers are coming.