NBN's 100/40Mbps Consumer Plans Could Be Getting Axed [Updated]

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NBN Co has suggested a lot of ideas as of late and approximately zero of them have been good news for the average internet user. (Observe the evidence here, here and here.) This time it's floating plans to remove a faster uplink option for Australian consumers. Oh dear.

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NBN Co has allegedly floated a new plan to introduce 100/40-megabit plans for businesses only, cutting off consumers from juicy uplink speeds, according to ITNews.

Instead, it is proposing a 110/20-megabit plan for residential users while the 100/40-megabit uplink speed would be reserved for commercial users.

NBN Co general manager Ken Walliss told ITNews he believed the higher uplink speeds were underutilised by residential customers.

"We've identified that residential customers tend not to use the 40Mbps upload speed on the current 100/40, so to provision a service of these dimensions adds costs from a wholesale and retail point of view," Walliss said to ITNews.

At this stage, it's unclear whether current users would need to migrate to the 110/20 plan or if they'd be allowed to continue on the 100/40 plan for the foreseeable future. Lifehacker Australia has reached out to NBN Co to confirm the reports and what the transition plan would be for existing customers on this plan. We'll update when we receive a response.

It's important to note, however, that NBN Co doesn't set the price for ISPs. Instead, it floats ideas with providers and provides the necessary infrastructure to make it happen.

A few months ago, NBN Co suggested ISP providers offer a 110/20-megabit plan at a reduced price in order to encourage uptake of higher speed broadband plans but this plan would coexist with the original 100/40, it was understood at the time.

Around 160 million devices in Australia are connected to the NBN with 62 per cent of homes and businesses on a 50-megabit wholesale speed plan or more, according to NBN Co. As of May 2019, more than 10 million homes and businesses are able to connect to the network now.

But internet speeds in Australia still haven't been a great selling point for the nation. We currently sit in 57th place for broadband speeds, according to Ookla's Speedtest, behind countries like Barbados (21st), Panama (32nd) and Belarus (54th).

In stark contrast to our failing broadband speeds, Australia is ranked fourth for mobile data speeds, averaging 63-megabits download speed with around 16-megabits in upload speed. We've stayed in the top 10 for global mobile speeds for the past 12 months while our broadband speeds have yet to crack the top 50.

Update: NBN Co responded to Lifehacker with the following statement:

In the consultation paper, we sought feedback on the possible development of a new residential-focussed lower cost AVC speed tier offering 110 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream. We’ve identified that residential customers tend not to use the 40Mbps upload speed on the current 100/40, so to provision a service of these dimensions adds costs from a wholesale and retail point of view.

The downstream 110 Mbps is set as a wholesale speed tier offer. There is typically some bandwidth lost between the wholesale and retail service. Ultimately it would be intended to support a downstream 100 Mbps retail offer.

If a 110/20Mpbs AVC speed tier were to be developed, we also asked Retail Service Providers (RSPS) for feedback on the potential of the existing 100/40 Mbps AVC speed tier being focused more on business customers. There are no proposals in the paper about customer restrictions, and ultimately it’s up to RSPs to purchase any available nbn offer to construct their retail offerings to supply products to business and residential customers.

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Comments

    This would be a concern if they could actually offer 100/20 or 100/40.

    the vast majority of Aust cant get anywhere near those speeds.

      Exactly. This is nothing but posturing and wankery.

      Plenty of us would take these faster plans if the infrastructure could provide it, but it can't.

      I'm lucky to get 40/20 on FTTN, but as someone working in IT from home, I would jump on 100/40 if it was available. (and yes, technically I know you can pay to have FTTP, but have a look at people's experiences with this on Whirlpool, and not only are the costs exorbitant, but ISPs and NBNCo seem to have no interest providing upgrades, doing everything they can to dissuade people)

      Last edited 06/08/19 11:50 am

    Surely NBN Co sets the wholesale price to the RSPs???? But currently the biggest issue for consumers is trust ... in their RSP, in NBN Co, and the apparent chaos which still exists when anyone (such as myself) is migrating from their current working service to NBN. These demarkation issues shoud have been resolved by now, but we know from the horror stories that this is not the case.

    The point is the potential loss of 40 up for those who have it now. I was on 100/8 on pre-NBN HFC, now on HFC NBN I'm enjoying 100/40 (or 95/37 in practice) and it would be disappointing to pay more to keep using it, if that is the proposal, or to lose it altogether.

    This is absolute f*ckery. When New Zealand is ahead of you on the global speed index, you need to take a good hard look at yourself.

    After being a happy 100/40 customer for 5 odd years, building up my home servers and my $800 odd dollar streaming setup, my new rental can barely support 30/10... Makes the servers + streaming I do impossible and there's no way to check for the maximum speed before applying for a rental property. Found out on install day that I'm 900 metres from the node with crappy copper in between.

    They should focus these efforts on working out how to actually OFFER the 100/40 speeds to everyone in the first place! I'm willing to bet the primary reason for poor uptake of the 100/40 plan is due to limited availability. I've had to downgrade, not because I want to, but because it makes no sense to pay for 100/40 when I can only get 30/10.

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