This morning’s news from NBN that they had plans for supercharging their highest speed plans has been well received by customers capable of obtaining those speeds or ordering the Fibre upgrade, but it was news to the Telcos as they got out of bed today. So, we asked the big four just what they thought of these new plans.

Andrew Sheridan, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Optus said “We welcome nbn’s move to improve customers’ access to higher speeds.”

This proposal is something Optus has long called for and is consistent with our focus on improving the connectivity experience for all Australians in this rapidly evolving digital world. 

“We look forward to working with the nbn to understand how these higher speed tiers can be delivered to all households. 

A Spokesperson for TPG Telecom said “Enabling faster download speeds for NBN customers is a positive opportunity for those who can access it. However, we must not overlook customers who cannot afford pricier, high-speed NBN plans, or the associated costs of upgrading equipment to take full advantage of these new speeds.

But went on to say “If NBN was genuine about addressing affordability and high-speed access for all Australians, it would extend these benefits to the 70 per cent of NBN customers on its entry-level 12, 25, and 50Mbps plans. In this cost-of-living crisis, it would be disappointing if only those with the financial means to access high-speed NBN plans reaped the benefits of these upgrades.

Our biggest telco Telstra offered this from a Spokesperson We are always supportive of any initiative that provides an improved experience for our customers. We look forward to further discussions with NBN Co during the consultation period as we assess the impact on Telstra and our customers.

While challenger brand Aussie Broadband’s Managing Director Phillip Britt said “Aussie Broadband is still understanding the detail of NBN Co’s speed proposal, but on the face of it could represent one of the most exciting steps in technology adoption for Australian households and businesses.

At Aussie we’re incredibly proud of the great investments in our retail network to improve the experience for customers adopting FTTP, and NBN Co’s announcement has made that early investment all the more essential as Australians take the next step into a high speed future. It’s essential, however, that these announcements are paired with more investment in fixed broadband for regional Australians so the digital inclusion gap isn’t widened further. 

While Aussie has a very strong share of the Fibre Connect market we still need to understand what impacts this will have for competition. By switching customers over at the wholesale level, smaller RSPs may miss out on the opportunity to compete for those customers which could harm retail-side innovation in the Australian broadband market.

Behind the scenes, there’s certainly some distain to the very public approach NBN has taken today to the commencement of these negotiations, and at the same time, plenty of chatter about how the NBN are selling it as “at no additional wholesale cost” which might be fair and reasonable, but for the Internet providers themselves, they have to purchase additional backhaul to connect those customers to the internet, they need equipment and support to make it all work.

To that end as has been noted privately to me, there will also be people who have home networking gear not capable of these higher speeds, so the end user could be up for their own upgrade costs to make the most of the higher speeds. NBN themselves note this in their announcement, saying “Critical to the success of the proposal will be internet retailers’ ability to transmit the higher wholesale speeds across their retail networks and ensure in-home equipment, such as modems and Wi-Fi routers, are capable of delivering the full benefits to customers,” it said in a statement. “NBN Co will be seeking retailer feedback on what in-home equipment will be needed to bring the increased speeds to market.”

Additionally, customers stuck on FTTN or living in Apartments have expressed concern that this will leave us with a wider divide between the haves and have nots when it comes to NBN technology.

A long road ahead for this change it seems.