NBN Tasmania prices 'yet to be determined': iiNet's Malone

But prices would likely be in step with current residential fibre plans

Official pricing for services over the Tasmanian leg of the NBN may yet be some weeks off, despite the announcement that Primus, Internode and iiNet have all committed to deliver services over network when it goes live in July.

Chief executive officer of iiNet, Michael Malone, told Computerworld that while much testing over the NBN had been completed, wholesale and retail prices are yet to be determined.

“We don’t know much yet – the pricing we have put out provisionally is the same as that we offer over our Opticomm estates. It is provisional now as we are still working with NBN Co on how the services get delivered,” he said.

“Technically, everyone is comfortable with [the NBN] and how it interfaces with their networks, but NBN pricing, and therefore retail pricing, is yet to be determined.”

iiNet currently offers residential fibre in three speeds: 25, 50 and 100 megabits per second (Mbps). The 25 Mbps service starts at $49.95 per month, 50 Mbps starts at $89.95 and the 100 Mbps service starts at $129.95.

“Those prices are the only basis we have to determine what an NBN service could cost,” Malone said. “The Opticomm service is a functioning greenfield [fibre] site, and reflects what it’s costing those guys to build and support it, so that’s a reasonable basis to model [NBN] pricing on.”

Malone said use of the Mornington Stage 1 Proof-of-Concept Test Centre in Tasmania to test an iiNet service over the NBN had shown that the network was up to standard.

“It ticks all the right boxes… they are delivering it on GPON [Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network] and it has high capacity for the future,” he said.

“While they are talking about 100 Mbps at the moment it’s clear that they’ve engineered the network to be better than that. It’s also delivered over GigE [Gigabit Ethernet] which is a sensible solution.”

Malone said being on of the first three companies to offer a service over the NBN would allow iiNet to gain valuable insight into how the company’s national customers might use NBN-based services.

“We have about 200 customers on these exchanges and I’d love to pick all those customers up – let them know it’s happening, obviously - and move them across [to the NBN], maybe for a year, and see how that affects their behaviour, as they would effectively be a random sample,” he said.

“If you encouraged people to move then those that did move would be the ones who most want fibre and you wouldn’t get a real view of customer usage and the products they want.”

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