It’s becoming a common catch-cry that 5G could rival or best the National Broadband Network, and it’s reached the point that NBN Co is now asking for a public, independent measure of such claims so people can make an informed decision.
In particular, NBN Co wants the ACCC to include rival 5G and fixed-line operators in the “Measuring Broadband Australia” reports, reports IT News.
There’s good reasons to have rival fast broadband services included in the report. The most obvious one is that consumers can see how claims of 5G speed stack up against fixed-line services delivered on NBN Co infrastructure, but they can also make comparisons between other fixed-line infrastructure providers such as Opticomm and TPG’s fibre to the basement services in some areas.
At the moment, the Measuring Broadband Australia report only compares NBN and ADSL services, but in a recent submission, NBN Co made its pitch to have more services included:
“NBN Co is strongly of the view that wireless home broadband services be included in the [ACCC] reporting.
“Public comments from major mobile network operators, some of which have already launched 5G fixed wireless services, suggest that 5G mobile and fixed wireless broadband are direct substitutes for NBN fixed line services.
“If the ACCC were to extend the MBA Program reporting to these networks it must ensure that there is a large enough sample size of users for the results to be meaningful, as well as ensuring that these users are not biased through a service qualification process.”
Including other fixed-line services is a bit of a no-brainer, but unsurprisingly, Telstra and Optus have pushed back against the inclusion of 5G services, saying they’re – essentially – not the same thing. 5G – and all wireless services – are subject to a range of different considerations that fixed-line services are not, and so comparing them directly mightn’t be all that fair.
The telcos also contend that 5G fixed wireless services are basically too new, and too sparsely used, for a proper representative sample to be identified for a meaningful comparison.
Including 5G would obviously benefit NBN Co more than it would others, as it’s likely it would show a more consistent performance on fixed-line services than it would on wireless. That matters, because it gives NBN further value against so-called competitors when it comes to eventual privatisation of their network.
For me, I definitely want to see a more independent comparison between NBN Co, other fixed-line providers and 5G – I want to know what the market can offer, and thus what to recommend to particular consumers for their needs. Without that meaningful – and independent – comparison, it’s much harder to do.