NBN Co launches fresh consultation on new price model

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NBN Co launches fresh consultation on new price model

Deals with 12Mbps, fixed wireless.

NBN Co is set to bring a revised new price construct proposal to retail service providers today, which is likely to lay out options for 12Mbps fixed-line users as well as the fixed wireless footprint.

CEO Bill Morrow said that the consultation would be launched in the company’s closed-door product development forum.

The consultation is expected to cover off issues that retail service providers (RSPs) have raised with the company’s new price construct, which comes into effect in October.

A major sticking point currently is what happens to the million or so customers signed up to basic 12Mbps broadband services.

iTnews revealed last month that 12Mbps users wanting to move to the new price construct - and therefore a better minimum level of performance - will pay up to double what they do now.

Their alternatives are to watch performance levels on their current plans slip come October, or to move off the NBN altogether.

Another problem with the new price construct is that it does not apply to the fixed wireless footprint; Aussie Broadband has been particularly vocal in advocating for change there, on behalf of fixed wireless users.

Morrow said that today’s consultation paper to retailers would identify “some of the things we’re considering” in these areas.

It appeared unlikely to offer much reprieve for RSPs with strong 12Mbps bases, with Morrow sticking to a relatively recent line that the tier was never designed for broadband services.

“The 12Mbps product - we have all the historians tell us - was originally designed predominantly to be able to support voice grade services,” Morrow said again last night.

“What we want to do is think of a construct that actually uses that 12Mbps for its original purpose and not pretend it’s going to provide all your broadband needs when it doesn’t.”

NBN Co is known to be redesigning 12Mbps to be a cheap, voice only product.

Morrow indicated the company will dissuade RSPs from trying to use it to sell data services by putting a very large connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) cost on it.

“We want the retailers and access seekers opinions on this so we’re going to be introducing some concepts and asking for their opinion [from today],” Morrow said.

Morrow indicated the company could also release some details of the consultation via its blog, though he said it would not publish the full consultation paper.

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