NBN Co had a near 90 percent success rate encouraging 12Mbps and 25Mbps users to upgrade to either 50Mbps or 100Mbps and above services under a recent marketing campaign.
The migration of users out of lower speed tiers under last year’s ‘Focus on Fast’ campaign went largely under the radar until it was made public during NBN Co’s financial results briefing last month.
Focus on Fast was a ‘try-before-you-buy’ scheme that enabled users to be moved up to much faster speed services for free for six months, before being given a choice to pay more, or roll back to their previous speed tier.
Most of the attention around Focus on Fast was initially around upgrades of 100Mbps users to 250Mbps.
Retail service providers reported mixed results after the campaign expired, especially among 100Mbps users that were happy enough to take a half-year of higher speeds before dropping back down again to 100Mbps again.
NBN Co’s figures reveal that 145,100 100Mbps users were moved up to 250Mbps services for free as part of the campaign, and that 92,200 - or 64 percent - elected to stay on 250Mbps and pay more.
However, the success of Focus on Fast is really seen at the lower end of the broadband mix.
NBN Co said that 540,000 25Mbps users trialled an upgrade to 50Mbps services, and 87 percent, or 470,000, decided to pay at the end.
In addition 25,200 12Mbps services were moved up to 50/20 and 22,400 (89 percent) stayed once the campaign and rebates ended.
Smaller numbers of low-end users took a much larger leap of faith to higher speed tier services.
NBN Co said that 2800 12Mbps services were moved to "100Mbps and above", of which 2400 (86 percent) stayed on; and that 5600 25Mbps services were moved to "100Mbps and above" and 4600 (82 percent) chose to stay there.
The conversion figures offer an unusually detailed view into the marketing campaign and its relative success in achieving what the company set out to do, which is to coax more of the user base onto higher speed plans.
Depending on the outcome of upcoming changes to NBN Co’s special access undertaking (SAU), however, such discount schemes may be more difficult to run in the future, as retailers seek more price certainty and less change and experimentation on NBN Co’s part.
NBN Co has argued in favour of maintaining its ability to offer discounts, in part so it can keep testing out new price levels and combinations.
The company is presently running another discount scheme aimed at getting even more users off 12Mbps and 25Mbps services, building on the success of Focus on Fast.
NBN Co's chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb told iTnews there is "definitely strong appetite" among its user base for higher speed services.
"The response to the pandemic has put a lot more emphasis on reliable broadband connectivity," Whitcomb said.
"We've got multiple people living, working and educating in the same household, concurrent usage - all these things have raised people's awareness around the need to have the right speed plan, and then that, in turn, has caused a number of customers to seek out higher speeds on the NBN."
The company has announced upgrades to its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fixed wireless footprints to make more services capable of supporting higher speeds over the next couple of years.