More bandwidth for NBN users as rollout progresses

The NBN is now providing more than 6.6 million wholesale residential services across Australia, after more than 400,000 new services were activated during the three months to December 2019.

The ACCC’s latest quarterly Wholesale Market Indicators Report, released today, also shows a 6.5 per cent rise in the wholesale NBN bandwidth, or Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC), up from 1.80Mbps to 1.92Mbps when averaged across all users.

This follows the increase in the number of wholesale access seekers taking up bundled plans from NBN Co that included a fixed amount of CVC per user.

The number of wholesale NBN access seekers directly connecting to the NBN also increased. At December 31 2019 there were at least 10 different wholesale access seeker groups directly connected to the NBN at all 121 of the existing NBN points of interconnect (POIs), compared to nine during the previous quarter.

At least 11 or more access seeker groups were connected at 116 POIs, up from 108 POIs three months earlier.

Access seekers buy wholesale NBN services to supply to their own retail customers or to other retailers.

“Our NBN wholesale market indicators reports continue to show a steady increase in access seekers directly connecting to the NBN, which means more competition in the retail market and more choice for Australian broadband consumers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The rise in bandwidth per user is also positive, as it should be resulting in a better experience for broadband consumers.”

Telstra remained the dominant acquirer of wholesale NBN services, with 47.8 per cent of all services, and the market shares of TPG and Optus remained stable at 21.9 per cent and 15.5 per cent of all NBN services.

Smaller wholesale access seekers increased their collective market share over the quarter from 7.3 per cent to 7.5 per cent. Vodafone is now servicing 113,000 customers after a jump of 21.7 per cent during the December quarter, making it one of the market’s fastest growing access seekers.

Higher speed wholesale services now account for 64.5 per cent of all NBN services, with 50Mbps plans the most popular at 56 per cent of all NBN residential services.

The number of lower speed plans acquired at the wholesale level increased by 61,370 services over the December 2019 quarter to nearly 2.2 million services.

The net increase is the combination of a rise of almost 160,000 services at the lowest speed of 12Mbps, and a decline of almost 98,000 services at the next highest tier of 25Mbps.

This has meant that the 12Mbps tier represented 17.6 per cent of all NBN wholesale services at the end of the December quarter, up from 16.2 per cent at the end of September, while the share of 25Mbps services decreased from 18.1 per cent to 15.5 per cent in the same period.

However, despite this shift at the wholesale level the proportion of retail customers on these plans is likely to have remained relatively stable.

The ACCC is aware that access seekers shifted a large number of wholesale services from the 25Mbps tier to the 12Mbps tier during the quarter, following changes to NBN wholesale pricing. Under NBN Co’s previous wholesale pricing offers, some service providers were using 25Mbps bundled wholesale services to supply 12Mbps plans to some of their retail customers.

Further information, including time series data, is available on the ACCC website at NBN Wholesale Market Indicators.

Background

The ACCC’s Wholesale Market Indicators report contains information on wholesale access services acquired over the NBN. It does not report retail market shares.

Further, it does not provide a precise measure of speed mix between retail plans, because retail service providers often limit the maximum speeds of their retail plans below the speed of the underlying NBN wholesale access service.

An NBN wholesale access service is used by an NBN access seeker to supply a retail service to its own customers or, alternatively, to supply a wholesale service to another RSP.

Most small RSPs do not directly connect with NBN Co, instead reselling NBN services acquired from other NBN access seekers (such as Telstra, TPG and Optus).

Change in speed tiers from December 2017 to December 2019

TC4 AVCs

12Mbps

25Mbps

50Mbps

100Mbps

December 2017

1,022,494

1,884,662

158,959

400,848

Low/high speed

83.8%

16.2%

December 2019

1,164,493

1,021,613

3,698,683

555,251

Low/high speed

33.1%

64.5%

Note: 2019 percentages do not include Wireless Plus services.

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