National Broadband Network’s 100Mbps plans must be more affordable

Spending $43 billion of Australian taxpayers' money on a super-quick state-of-the-art optical fibre network could result in a bad investment for the country if the current pricing by NBN resellers for 100Mbps plans aren’t lowered.

A recent poll from Compare Broadband asked, ‘Would you pay $100 per month for 60GB with the NBN's 100Mbps ultra-high speed optical fibre internet?’ This question was based on the average price for a reseller’s highest possible speed within the optical fibre service. 61% of 374 pollsters said they would not pay the $100, while 33% said they would, and 6% didn’t know either way.

If nothing is changed to the NBN’s pricing scheme, this result infers nearly two-thirds of Australians may not take up the fastest form of the new broadband service. There are two ‘slower’ speeds being offered via the NBN’s new fibre-to-the-home service at 25Mbps and 50Mbps respectively. These are generally priced in a similar range to current ADSL2+ or cable services, but will be a much better broadband service, as less speed is lost throughout the transmission process. These are definitely not slow speeds.

However, the question remains about whether a fibre to the home broadband network is worth rolling out if most Australians feel the service is unnecessary, or overpriced.
Compare Broadband’s General Manager, Scott Kennedy, when asked about the poll’s result, said: "It suggests that Australians do not see the value in spending more for a faster broadband connection. The NBN Co needs to better educate consumers on the advantages to the economy and individuals of a fibre to the home broadband network or deliver the service at a more affordable price.”

Australia currently rates 50 in the world for our broadband speed, and many see this as a major factor that could impede national growth in the future if we are not ‘up to speed’ with other nations. The new NBN network has been promoted as a means to offer numerous jobs (in order to build it), plus creating an infrastructure that would lead to massive growth in Australia’s business and telecommunication industries.

Many see broadband internet as comparable to other necessary daily utilities like water, telephone, electricity, or gas and want to see Australia's broadband infrastructure upgraded for the digital age.

But if the fastest speeds are unaffordable for the majority of Australians, the cost of joining a world-leading broadband society will be borne by all through the roll out of the NBN, but not used by all.