NBN Co has seen a sizeable increase in the amount of quotes issued to customers wanting to pay their own way to a faster access technology over the past three years.
The network builder provided a rare - albeit incomplete - look at the number of customers that pursue a user-pays upgrade to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) under its Technology Choice program.
Over the years, statistics on the uptake of Technology Choice have tended to be piecemeal, in part because numbers are released on various stages of the process: the number of applications, the number of quotes issued, and then the number of applicants that actually proceed.
The latest release of numbers only covers quotes NBN Co has issued to date, and then only for specific upgrade paths: fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) or fixed wireless to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
NBN Co said that as of March 25 this year it had provided:
- 971 FTTN to FTTP individual premises switch quotes
- 92 Fixed Wireless to FTTP individual premises switch quotes
- 147 HFC to FTTP individual premises switch quotes
NBN Co doesn’t say how many of those that received quotes approved of them and wound out shelling out the cash to move forward with a full fibre upgrade.
A previous data release from about three years ago put the conversion rate at 25 percent. It’s not clear whether that would have gone up, down or remained stable over such a long period of time, however.
It's also worth noting that the company would have received a great deal more applications for technology changes from FTTN, HFC and fixed wireless that simply did not progress to quote.
In the previous data release, about 90 percent of applications received did not result in a quote.
That provides some idea of the level of interest that might exist in a technology switch as the NBN heads for a completion of sorts in the middle of this year.
Moving up from HFC
The HFC switch number is interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, it wasn’t even an upgrade option for a couple of years, though appears to have been prior to June 2016.
“HFC is not yet eligible under the Technology Choice policy,” NBN Co said in March last year.
“The policy was created without the inclusion to allow the HFC Program to reach a mature service offering.
“Subsequently, in December 2017, NBN Co announced a pause in the deployment of HFC technology to enable the optimisation of the HFC footprint and provide a better customer experience.
“Given the focus on optimisation and re-release of the HFC footprint, it was not the right time to include HFC technology under Technology Choice; however, the inclusion of this technology continues to be re-assessed.”
Second, HFC is already one of only two access technologies capable of running an up to gigabit speed plan on the NBN.
While moving to FTTP would certainly uncap the potential of the line, HFC is still capable of higher speeds than a lot of other NBN access technologies already.
The trend for FTTN users to seek an upgrade to FTTP is more established, and has been underway for the past several years.