Aussie data consumption soars as broadband prices fall

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Aussie data consumption soars as broadband prices fall

Driven by non-NBN services.

Real prices being paid for fixed broadband services fell almost 10 percent over the past financial year, according to consumer watchdog the ACCC.

In its annual report on the telecommunications sector [pdf], the ACCC said that "when comparing similar plans, real prices for fixed broadband services fell by 9.4 per cent during 2016−17, largely attributed to improvements in data allowances."

"There has been a downward trend in price since 2013−14, although the decline has been stronger in 2016−17 than in previous years," the ACCC said, before adding that this had been "driven by non-NBN service prices".

By contrast, NBN Co's economic model has been largely predicated to date on consumers paying ever-increasing monthly fees for broadband services.

The assumption that consumers would be willing to keep spending more has started to fall away over the past year, and with it the company's 2020 revenue and profit expectations.

As data allowances have improved, consumers have in turn used up much more quota.

Comparing a three-month period to June 2016 and 2017, the ACCC said that the total volume of data downloaded "across all access technologies" increased from 2 million TB to 3 million TB.

"Continued growth in the consumption of content streaming services, social media and other applications that increasingly incorporate content-rich and video components are likely to be key drivers of these trends," the ACCC said.

Data downloaded from mobile handsets was up 45 percent, and data from wireless broadband devices increased 72 percent.

Fixed internet users downloaded about 42 percent more in 2017 than in the previously corresponding period.

“Consumers are obtaining greater value for money and receiving and using more data each year,” ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

“In other encouraging developments, we are seeing new players enter the fixed and wireless broadband markets and this will provide further competitive pressure going forward.”

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