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ACCC Warn NBN Affordability Rising Issue

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns NBN affordability is a growing issue among low income residents, with plans more expensive than equivalent ADSL options.

The consumer watchdog credits this to the new NBN Co wholesale pricing debuted in the last six months.

Speaking at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney, ACCC Chair Rod Sims asserts low-speed NBN plans offered to new customers are at least $10/month higher than equivalent ADSL packages:

“We are now observing prices of low-speed NBN plans offered to new customers that are at least $10 per month higher than what consumers paid for equivalent ADSL plans,”

“There is a fundamental question of fairness here for those on low incomes.”

The ACCC claims for ~$50/month consumers can access an ADSL internet and voice plan with a 100GB quota, or pay $60 for an unlimited quota plan.

Ultimately, the regulator asserts the wholesale cost of accessing the NBN to supply a basic 12-megabit service is now significantly higher, and closer to the cost of a 50-megabit service.

“We also believe NBN Co’s entry-level services should be anchored to existing ADSL pricing,” affirms Mr Sims.

“This is only fair to consumers because they have no choice but to move to the NBN as their existing services are being withdrawn.”

Sims highlights the importance of the ACCC’s current wholesale service standards inquiry, which seeks to improve missed appointments, and other faults.

“If the wholesale standards are high, retail service providers can offer strong service commitments to their customers,” he adds.

“However, if any of these activities are not up to scratch, retailers and, more importantly, the consumer will bear the pain.”

Further information is available on the ACCC’s website here.

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