Take-up of NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellite service is still impacted by a “hangover” brought about by poor user experiences with the now-retired interim satellite service, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has claimed.
Fletcher used a CEDA address today to exhume the government’s long-running angle of “Labor mismanagement” of the NBN.
One of Fletcher’s new charges, however, is that Labor is to blame for the lack of activations on Sky Muster, where just one in five users in the footprint has actually connected.
“Labor announced something called the ‘NBN interim satellite service’,” Fletcher said.
“It was a poor service, using capacity leased on satellites from other operators, and did not live up to the promises.
“Sadly there is still some resistance to using Sky Muster, as a hangover from the poor reputation of the interim satellite service.”
The government has grown increasingly worried about Sky Muster take-up over the past year.
The government was also at one time accused of using Sky Muster as a “dumping ground” for premises too hard to serve with other access technologies.
Fletcher said that the government was “working hard” to turn around Sky Muster’s take-up numbers.
He is pegging hopes on improved take-up with the new Sky Muster Plus product, although it comes at a premium compared to regular Sky Muster services.
Fletcher also used his speech to defend NBN Co’s incursion into the enterprise and government market.
“Some might think that companies at the top end of town have the negotiating power to look after themselves - and so there is no need to be concerned about increasing competition in this market,” he said.
However, he suggested NBN Co’s move was helping to break Telstra’s dominance of the “lucrative” market.
“For too long Australian businesses have been burdened by the lack of choice they face in enterprise broadband services, leading to higher costs and inflexible contracts which ultimately affect the bottom line,” he said.
“With NBN, that is changing - because now Telstra’s competitors are able to supply large corporates using the NBN fibre network.
Fletcher said that businesses could look forward to “a wide range of competing offers from telcos keen to serve them” and should “expect lower prices” as a result.