While the rollout of the NBN has been less than perfect and many traditional ISPs, who are now RSPs, have struggled to meet customer expectations, one RSP has managed to avoid most of the bad publicity around the network. Aussie Broadband's managing director and founder Phil Britt answered a bunch of questions on a recent Reddit AMA about the state of the NBN. Here are his most searing takes.
Britt answered a wide range of questions including a number around the company's use of Dad Jokes instead of hold music when customer call in. But beneath the humour there's a clear mission to support customers no matter what their situation.
For example, a number of people chatting with Britt in the AMA noted that Aussie Broadband had saved them money by only offering services they felt were needed by the customer.
In one case, the customer was sold a 50/12 plan rather than the 100/12 plan they were initially looking for as their distance from a node meant 100Mbps was unachievable. In another, a custom package was created saving a user $300 a year.
And several people noted the referral reward of $50 for both the referrer and new referred customer.
When it came to offering plans that exceed the company's current 100Mbps limit and the impact of 5G, Britt was diplomatic but made his feelings known:
At this stage, we don't have any plans to offer unlimited on anything over 100/40 services. The cvc pricing construct is the primary limiter here, we've only got 2.5 mbits of cvc allocated under the bundled model and someone on an unlimited plan on those higher tiers would have the potential to really cause some damage.
With 5G, Britt said it will appeal to many customers, rather than a fixed NBN connection - especially with transient users such as those in rental properties. And that could lead to a write down in the value of the NBN - something that has been flagged by politicians over recent months.
That write down, said Britt, could lead to a reduction in the price of 100Mbps services as "They can't hold onto the $51 ARPU amounts they are trying to achieve because the mobile guys will wipe the floor with them."
Britt also answered questions around why HFC is still limited saying "In terms of HFC, I believe the main issue holding back faster speeds is they don't have full access to the spectrum on the cable currently - its still being shared with Telstra's HFC internet product".
It's a fascinating AMA and worth reading through. There are a lot of insights into how other countries, like Switzerland, the US and New Zealand deliver and price broadband services as well as the challenges Britt is facing and how he thinks the long-term future of the NBN will play out.
Ultimately, when it comes to why NBN speeds stink - Britt said the CVC construct and the technical choices made such as spectrum and physical infrastructure are to blame. But Aussie Broadband seems determined to only promise what it can deliver and not disappoint customers.
For those who are curious, here's how the current crop of leading NBN 100 plans compare on speed and pricing: