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iiNet publishes fibre broadband plans

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iiNet has announced its National Broadband Network service prices. The number-two ISP has published the prices on its Website, with the entry-level 12/1 Mbps, 40 Gbyte service costs $AU49.95 per month; with the top-speed, maximum allowance 100/40 Mbps Terabyte downloads service costing $AU99.95.

Customers can choose 40 Gbyte, 200 Gbyte or 1 TByte download services at 12/1 Mbps, 25/5 Mbps, 50/20 Mbps and 100/40 Mbps speeds.

Michael Malone, iiNet’s CEO, has highlighted a key difference between NBN services and today’s ADSL services: to connect a customer outside its infrastructure footprint, an ISP like iiNet has to rent DSLAM access from Telstra.

He said that “standard off-net access charges offered by NBN Co” are “40 percent less than currently available”.

Adding telephone services to the NBN connection cost $AU9.95 per month.

Comment: As more and more providers publish their NBN service prices, what’s emerging is a diverse range of prices reflecting a variety of choices about service quality and retailers’ decisions about network provisioning.

Hence provider Exetel’s entry level of $AU34.50 – with, it should be noted, a $AU100 activation charge – is the cheapest entry-level service, while Internode’s services start higher than iiNet’s at $AU59.95 for a 30 Gbyte plan and max out at nearly $AU190 for a Terabyte service, but all of Internode’s plans include its NodePhone service.

Looking again at iiNet’s plan list, the fairest comparison is probably with iiNet’s Naked DSL services, since customers of these services don’t have to pay separately for a Telstra line. iiNet’s entry-level Naked DSL service offers 100 Gbytes of downloads for $AU69.95, while its midrange 200 GB, 25/5 Mbps NBN service is $AU64.95.

There’s bound to be complaints about iiNet’s service prices. Perhaps the most successful bit of misinformation in the anti-NBN campaign has been around almost since the project was announced: someone seeded the idea in the community that the new, higher-speed fibre services would be cheaper than today’s broadband, and any time services aren’t cheaper, it demonstrates that the project is a failure.

Nobody ever said the NBN would be “cheaper” than broadband today; the word used in the original press conference was “affordable”.

Retailer behavior on the monopoly infrastructure is, perhaps paradoxically, showing at least the beginnings of competitive behavior. Even at this early stage, prices seem at least as diverse as ADSL resale prices. ®

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