Less than a week after rival Internode announced pricing for the National Broadband Network (NBN), Exetel has revealed its prices for mainland NBN trial sites.
In a series of blog post, Exetel chief executive, John Linton, wrote that customers in the trials sites in Armidale, Kiama and Willunga had been sent “invitation emails” for free instalment and no charge use of the fibre service until 30 September this year, allowing them to retain their ADSL service and run the two side-by-side.
“On or before 30th September they select which service they would like to keep,” Linton wrote. “If they don't want to continue with the fibre service then they are not charged for it to be removed and they simply go back to using their ADSL service at their contracted price per month.”
Following 30 September, the ISP will charge a $100 installation fee and offer 12-month plans with five different data allowances available across 12 megabits per second uplink/1Mbps downlink, 25/5Mbps, 50/10 Mbps, 50/20Mbps and 100/40 Mbps services.
The cheapest start at $34.50 per month for 20 Gigabytes (GB) of data for speeds of 12/1Mbps, and reach up to $74.50 for 200GB of data. This is less expensive than Internode’s cheapest plan which starts at $59.95 per month phone and internet bundle for a 12/1Mbps connection and a 30GB data allowance.
The maximum plans offered with speeds of 100/40 Mbps range from $49.50 for 20GB up to 200GB for $99.50, compared with Internode’s most expensive plan which offers speeds of 100/40Mbps with a one Terabyte limit and costs $189.95 per month.
Once data limits are reached, excess data will be throttled at 512 Kilobits per second (kbps)/128Kbps.
According to Linton, pricing for the fibre service has been a “major issue” as the Federal Government claims the network will offer “more speed at the same price of ADSL2” and there was no fixed quotes from back haul providers to and from the NBN POIs.
“At 'NBN2's' wholesale pricing today that simply isn't going to happen....at least not from Exetel,” he wrote. “Why? Because the monthly port cost of the lowest speed fibre service and the 'back haul/CVC' cost is higher than even Trelstra (sic) Wholesale charge for an ADSL2 service.....and is almost double the cost of an Optus ADSL2 service.....and that the fibre cost is going to get much higher once the 'trial phases' end and the POIs [points of interconnect] move to their planned 121 locations instead of, as they now are, in CBD major data centres.”
The plans will also include VoIP services, for which Linton said Exetel customers would be receiving another email advising them how to test VoIP over their connection given they have compatible equipment or handsets.
“Assuming the Labor government's 'NBN2' proceeds as planned this provides a participating ISP with the opportunity of increasing the percentage of their customers who use the ISP's own VoIP service quite dramatically,” Linton wrote.
"It also poses a threat to 'stand alone' VoIP companies who will almost certainly see their businesses wiped out as, as far as I can see, there is no way that an end user won't use the 'free' VoIP service that every ISP will include in a Labor 'NBN2' service.”
More detail will be added to the Exetel NBN pricing, Linton said, as it draws closer to the time services will become available.
Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, welcomed the competition by the retail service providers (RSPs) noting Exetel's entry level price of $34.50 was almost half that released by Internode and lower than the sub-$40 package announced by Dodo last week.
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