Telstra still dominates NBN, but competition watchdog sees some positive signs

ACCC NBN wholesale market report incorporates data on NBN HFC, satellite connections for the first time

The latest NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveals that Telstra continues to supply the overwhelming majority of services over the National Broadband Network.

The quarterly report is prepared by the ACCC on the basis of data from NBN and offers a snapshot of competition as of 31 December 2016.

The report does not offer a complete picture of the state of competition in the NBN market, however, as it’s based on wholesale access services — so the figures for a telco like Telstra include both those it supplies to end users and those that it supplies to another retail service provider that sells them to an end user.

As of 31 December, Telstra supplied almost 51 per cent of the 1.48 million NBN fixed-line services in operation, trailed by TPG (26 per cent), Optus (14 per cent) and Vocus (7 per cent). If fixed wireless services are included, the percentage of services supplied by Telstra climbs slightly.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairperson, Rod Sims, saw some positive signs for competition, however.

“While still early days in the acquisition of services over the NBN, it is pleasing to note that competitors are making inroads into Telstra’s traditional dominance of broadband services in regional areas,” Sims said in a statement.

“The report demonstrates that competitors to Telstra are providing 47 per cent of NBN services to end users in the regions, which is considerably above their traditional share of customers in these areas.”

Telstra was responsible for supplying more than 522,000 of the NBN services in regional areas, followed by TPG (197,000), Optus (98,000) and Vocus (71,000).

“In metropolitan areas, however, Telstra’s share of NBN services is around their traditional market share,” Sims noted.

The report was the first to incorporate figures for hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) and Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) NBN connections.

As of 31 December there were 14,551 HFC-based NBN services in operation (with Optus in the lead on 5295, followed by 4325 TPG-supplied services and 4227 Telstra services).

NBN announced last year that it will not be using Optus’ HFC assets, except in Redcliffe in Queensland. Instead the company will proceed with a larger than expected rollout of fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) in the areas within the Optus HFC footprint.

LTSS connections were dominated by Australian Private Networks, which accounted for over 40 per cent of the 54,829 connections (followed by SkyMesh, with 24 per cent).

The ACCC report is available online.

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