NBN Co sees large jump in 250Mbps, gigabit users

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NBN Co sees large jump in 250Mbps, gigabit users

As six-month discount comes into play.

NBN Co has revealed that the number of customers on 250Mbps or up to gigabit broadband plans has surpassed half a million, a 20-fold or more increase since the end of last year.

The network operator revealed the impact of its ‘focus on fast’ campaign, which cut the cost of 100Mbps and above services from February 1 this year, and has led to some aggressive offers in-market.

In its third-quarter results released today, NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue provided a first look at the way the campaign and price cut has altered the profile of NBN Co’s user base.

“Our ‘focus on fast’ initiative, which commenced on 1 February 2021 and offers rebates to retailers to incentivise sales of higher speed tiers, has helped to lift more customers to higher speed tiers,” Rue said.

“Approximately 10 percent of customers [are] now on plans based on wholesale speed tiers of 100Mbps, and an additional seven percent of customers on plans offering download speeds of 250Mbps and close to 1Gbps.”

The company currently has 8.1 million active connections; based on that - and using ACCC figures up to the end of last year as a baseline - the number of users on 100Mbps plans is likely to have dropped from around 1.2 million at the end of last year to 810,000 by the end of March.

However, there is an exponential lift in the number of users on 250Mbps or up to gigabit plans. 

There were around 24,000 such users at the end of last year; based on NBN Co’s percentages today, that number is likely to be up to 567,000.

That would suggest that a substantial proportion of the 100Mbps user base has upgraded to higher speed plans while they are being offered at a heavy discount.

It’s still unclear how many customers currently on upgraded 250Mbps or gigabit plans will stick with them once the substantial discount is removed; the impact of that won’t be clear until deep into 2021.

Comment was being sought from an NBN Co spokesperson at the time of publication.

NBN Co had 7.9 million active premises at the end of last year [pdf], meaning it added about 200,000 customers in the third quarter, but encouraged a lot more movement between speed tiers with its discounting.

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