NBN Co is hoping to drive take-up in the fixed line footprint with a “first timers discount” that gives half-price internet for a year to new end users that have so far rebuffed offers to join.
The discount will be available for the first six months of 2020, and could be important to NBN Co presenting a strong set of take-up numbers when it nominally completes the build (save 100,000-odd hard to reach premises).
It could also help NBN Co reach a segment of the market that received NBN infrastructure and - for whatever reason - did nothing more with it.
NBN Co said that it would provide a discount for the first service provided to qualifying end users “for the first 12 billing periods” once a connection is live.
“The amount of the discount that NBN Co will provide … in each relevant billing period will be equal to 50 percent of the effective recurring charge” for the service.
To qualify as a “first timer”, however, you must be a residential customer - business users are excluded - and have left your home unconnected from NBN for “700 or more calendar days … since the RTC [ready to connect] date.”
In other words, the offer very specifically targets households that don't connect to the NBN, even after their existing fixed-line infrastructure is retired or services switched off.
NBN Co also makes it clear that the discount is only for the fixed-line footprint.
“For clarity, the first timers discount does not apply to any AVC TC-4 Product Components, or CVC TC-4 capacity, supplied in connection with NBN wireless or NBN satellite,” it says.
NBN Co said it would automatically apply the discount to qualifying orders, which should mean that it can be passed through to end users.
It’s also important to note the discount is only available for residential plans of 100Mbps speeds and below; NBN Co won’t be heavily discounting its most expensive tiers for newcomers.
NBN Co’s chief customer officer for residential, Brad Whitcomb, told iTnews that the half-price discount is an outcome of the company’s recently-completed wholesale pricing review.
It is an outcome that wasn’t previously apparent until now.
"NBN Co’s wholesale pricing review set a number of important objectives, including lifting takeup in consumer segments who are taking more time to connect to the NBN," Whitcomb told iTnews.
"These segments include seniors and those who live in shared accommodation.
“As part of the [review], NBN Co communicated a first timers discount offer to retail service providers.
“NBN Co will introduce a special 50 per cent discount on the wholesale price of all fixed line bundles for a period of 12 months at residential premises that have not connected to the network for at least 24 months since that household was first declared RTC.
“The offer will be available for a limited time only from 1 January 2020 until 30 June 2020.”
MDU sign-ups also sought
At the same time as launching the first timers discount, NBN Co is also planning a separate drive to get more sign-ups in multi-dwelling unit (MDU) developments, such as apartment blocks.
This will offer MDU-based prospective sign-ups two months of free internet if they within four-to-six months of their ready to connect date, or three months free if they are between seven and 23 months of the RTC date.
“NBN Co’s MDU incentive is primarily focused on the insight that customers living in units or apartments can take longer to connect to the NBN,” Whitcomb said.
“We are therefore incentivising RSPs to re-market or potentially pass-through a special incentive discount to MDU customers.”
It is understood the MDU discount applies to first time connections, service transfers and re-activations, as well as to all services up to 100Mbps. Again, however, fixed wireless and satellite are excluded.