The number of higher speed broadband services exceeded 5 million for the first time, jumping from 4.9 million to over 5.2 million last quarter, according to the ACCC’s Wholesale Market Indicators Report released today.
As the pandemic continues to increase demand for broadband services, new consumers are continuing to be drawn mainly to the higher speed plans (50Mbps and above). Within this group, the 50Mbps service remains the most popular plan, accounting for 57.5 per cent of all connections.
Recently introduced premium high-speed products (with speeds of 100Mbps and above) have also experienced a jump in popularity. Connections to such services as “Home Fast” (up to 100/20Mbps), “Home Superfast” (250/25Mbps) and “Home Ultrafast” (at least 500/50Mbps), increased rapidly over the quarter from a low base. They still, however, only represent just over 2 per cent of all services.
“It is good to see a continuing increase in the number of products on offer, giving savvy consumers a range of differing plans to choose from,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
The reports shows that more than 7.8 million residential customers are already connected to the NBN, after the activation of 387,410 new services in the September 2020 Quarter. However, the number of consumers on 12Mbps or 25Mbps plans rose only slightly, to nearly 2.4 million at the end of September 2020, as the share of consumers on lower speed plans is continuing to decline, now representing 30.4 per cent of all connections.
“It is vital that broadband providers offer a variety of plans for all needs and budgets. Consumers should choose the plan that best works for them, and that doesn’t always mean the fastest,” Mr Sims said.
Telstra continues to dominate the market with 45.7 per cent of all wholesale services acquired from NBN, slightly down on last quarter. TPG Telecom now accounts for 24.4 per cent of all wholesale services following the merger with Vodafone. Optus and Vocus market shares were relatively stable at 15.4 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.
Among the smaller players, Aussie Broadband increased its share from 3.5 per cent last quarter to 3.9 per cent in this quarter. Other small access seeker groups accounted for the remaining share of 3.3 per cent.
The number of wholesale providers connecting to all the NBN points of interconnect (POIs) remained stable this quarter, although the consolidation of TPG and Vodafone under one access seeker group means that there are now only 9 wholesale access groups at all 121 POIs, down from the 10 reported at the end of June. There are 10 or more access seeker groups connected at 120 of the POIs.
In addition, total Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC), that is the total bandwidth acquired by Retail Service Providers (RSPs), grew by a further 10 per cent to just over 20 Terabits per second.
CVC per user also increased over the quarter from 2.47Mbps to 2.59Mbps, a near five per cent increase since last quarter. The latest CVC figures reflect NBN Co’s extension of its temporary offer of additional 40 per cent CVC capacity to RSPs, at no additional cost, in response to the COVID pandemic.
“It’s important that RSPs continue to acquire sufficient CVC to meet consumer demand, as this affects on user experience. Particularly at this time when Australians’ broadband connection has become a household essential for work, education and entertainment,” Mr Sims said.
Further information, including time series data, is available on the ACCC website at NBN Wholesale Market Indicators.
The ACCC’s Wholesale Market Indicators report contains information on wholesale access services acquired over the NBN.
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 December 2017 to September 2020*
*excludes NBN ‘Wireless Plus’ services