Earlier today, it was revealed that the company building Australia’s National Broadband Network is exploring making the fastest consumer NBN plan a business-only offering, and developing a new plan for residential customers.
Dubbed as a “repositioning”, the new plan would see the 100/40Mbps NBN Premium speed tier restricted to business customers, with a new 110/20Mbps plan destined for consumers.
From one perspective, this approach has some merit – residential customers would prioritise faster download speeds ahead of upload speeds, as relatively few would need sustained upload speeds of 40 Mbps.
However, 20Mbps uploads are not especially quick. For customers who may back up their photos offline, who may record a lot of video, or who work remotely and require reasonable bandwidth in both directions, 40Mbps would be significantly more suitable than a 20Mbps product that would – in the real world – likely average slower still.
“We’ve identified that residential customers tend not to use the 40Mbps upload speed on the current 100/40, so to provision a service of these dimensions adds costs from a wholesale and retail point of view,” he told iTnews.
When iTnews sought comment from NBN Co, it appeared to walk back from the proposed plan changes, suggesting it would be up to retail service providers to decide what products make up their offering.
However, if – as it appears would be the case – there’s changes to pricing for the plans, it would cost RSPs more to offer 100/40Mbps plans to residential customers, and that means those customers are going to be asked to pay more.
As a fairly “typical user”, who uploads photos, videos and more daily, and works remotely on occasion, there’s an argument each way about whether I really “need” 40Mbps upload speeds, but there’s another way to look at that question, too.
At the moment, I don’t have 40Mbps upload speeds, and I can think of a few activities I would be carrying out if I did – more working remotely, knowing that my home connection could handle voice and video streams. A 110/20Mbps product likely wouldn’t handle this nearly as well.
What do you think of the current NBN technology mix, and would you prefer a 100/40 plan or a 110/20 plan? Would you expect to pay more or less for the new 110/20 plans?