Aussies abandon slow internet en masse: here’s why

Australians have had enough of slow internet, especially after recent NBN price changes with Aussie Broadband data showing a big swing towards faster plans.

Slightly obscured by the rejected Superloop acquisition, Aussie Broadband released its latest financial results with some interesting insights. Sift through much of the investor-speak and you’ll find a few nuggets of information worth examining closer.

One is that Aussie seems to be doing well for itself, increasing broadband connections by more than 20% compared to the previous financial year. The other, perhaps indicative of a wider industry trend, is that a new most popular NBN plan is emerging.

According to the telco’s announcement, 69% of its new customers since the wholesale NBN price change are signing up for plans with download speeds of 100Mbps or above. Late last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accepted NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking changes. It resulted in lower wholesale prices for faster tiers like NBN 100 but higher prices for NBN 50.

Aussie Broadband was one of the first internet service providers (ISPs) to pass both the costs and savings onto consumers. Subsequently, prices for NBN 50 plans – estimated to account for 45% of the overall market – increased across the board. Meanwhile, NBN 100 plans and faster went down in price.

When you look at the cheapest NBN plans, there’s now only a few dollars’ difference between NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans, which might explain some of the recent uptake. Another factor specific to Aussie Broadband is a big sale the telco ran late last year, where 12-month discounts were offered.

Why else are Aussies dropping slow internet plans?

There are many variables at play, and Aussie Broadband is just one example that accounts for just over 8% of the overall NBN market. For further context, the ACCC publishes a quarterly report tracking the market share of wholesale NBN services.

As of September 2023, Telstra sits at the top with a 40.9% market share, followed by TPG at 21.3%. Optus (12.9%) and Dodo’s parent company, Vocus Group (8.2%) rounded out the remaining top ISPs.

Even though Aussie Broadband only accounts for a relatively small sample size, it’s reasonable to expect that more people want faster internet. Remote working, more connected devices, wider availability of 4K streaming, and increasingly large game downloads are all contributing factors. Plus, more Australians have access to faster fibre connections.

Even Fortnite and Call of Duty were labelled major reasons behind a record-breaking day for the NBN in November 2023. When you compare the ACCC report by data, you can see 50Mbps waning in popularity while 100Mbps rose – even before the price changes.

ACCC NBN wholesale market September 2023
Image: ACCC.

It won’t be long now until the ACCC publishes the next quarterly report. With so much happening in the NBN and internet space right now, it will make for fascinating reading.

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