ISP iiNet will continue to lure subscribers to its free internet TV services regardless of what happens at the polls this weekend or in the courts in the months ahead, its founder said at the announcement of its annual results today.
The national ISP, with its headquarters in Perth, saw annual revenues rise 13 percent to $478 million while underlying earnings were up 20 percent to $80.7 million.
iiNet's results included $3.8 million for legal costs in the copyright case brought against it by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft. The federation was appealing its loss in that case.
The ISP's chief executive officer Michael Malone (pictured) said that there was no need to make further provision for legal costs because iiNet was confident the appeal would not overturn the decision.
"We have a very solid judgement at the Federal Court level," Malone said.
"On the balance of probabilities, there's no sense in having a contingent liability at all."
Election "win" vs "certainty"
Malone said a Coalition win at the weekend's federal polls was "better for iiNet in the short-term". The ability to expand its presence in regional exchanges was also welcome, he said.
But the National Broadband Network, a central plank in the Gillard-Labor platform, gave Australia's biggest ISP after Telstra and Optus more certainty over the next five to eight years and better service to Australians, he said.
"For us, it's the difference between the short-term win versus the longer-term certainty."
The offering of unmetered content (13 percent of iiNet traffic) was key to attracting customers; making money through services such as the FetchTV IPTV service launched in April was the next step, Malone said.
Just 300 customers subscribed to the service: "We're still not advertising it anywhere; making sure the product works and works well is our issue for our first few hundred customers", he said.
The ISP was pummelled on community broadband site Whirlpool today, its subscribers voicing frustration at iiNet's failure to secure the Premier League soccer web broadcast for the next season.
And iiNet will revise its price plans in the wake of recent adjustments by Telstra, but Malone said competition for the cheapest downloads was not a good, long-term strategy.
"We want to offer a better product, backed up by better service. We don't want to be a cheap and nasty player down at the bottom end of the market."
He said iiNet's use of customer satisfaction metrics was vindicated by Telstra's decision to use similar methods: "There's a lot more room to grow in terms of service levels".