back to article For Australian small biz, NBN retail prices look fabulous

When Internode announced tariffs for its National Broadbad Network (NBN) services last week, it triggered an outbreak of mass stenography among Australian journalists. Rather than try to understand the pricing for themselves, they opened the microphones and let practically anybody draw practically any conclusion about the tariff …


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  1. scottf007

    Are you joking?

    This will take us so far backwards it is not funny.

    Today I can get cheaper plans at the lower end, much cheaper with more downloads. I am on internode - and we get more for less. True the higher speeds do not exist - but under the business model they can not get cheaper - they have fixed prices for 10 years.

    With an open market, people innovate, new technology is introduced like White Fi, and prices have been coming down since cable was introduced by bigpond years ago.

    Is the market made up from more consumers or SME's? Obvisouly more consumers - I think having to lock in society to more expensive local calls, and more expensive internet that can not drop in price is not a good thing. I am all up for speed, but at what cost?

    1. Mike 29


      Wonderful, you can download 200Gb of pr0n and moviez at 500kbs for cheaper than NBN pricing. Similarly I could commute the 20 minutes to work on a motorbike for cheaper too, and it would only cost me 20 minutes extra at either end in changing clothes. If I wanted to take an hour to bicycle in it would be cheaper again! Cheaper is better, on your bike!

      Next you compare dedicated wired bandwidth with a highly contested wireless connection. I regularly use both Telstra and Three 3G connections and even though the average bandwidth used on these services is tiny, you rapidly see the effect of bandwidth connection if a few people are trying to do a sustained download.

      The NBN does not close the market, if someone wants to build a competing technology there is nothing to stop them doing so. However, most advocates of competition forget that stops at the outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne and no private telco would build coverage for 96% of Australia at even bandwidth regardless of the technology used. If you can get 90% of the income for 10% of the expenditure that's exactly what you do. You only have to look at the competing telco's mobile coverage to see how that works.

      As for SME's, they're dying for a decent network at a reasonable price. The article mentioned TransACT and how hard it is to get numbers on business connections in general, here's a recent TransACT quote for comparison with NBN prices:

      - 50Mbit connection

      - 24 month contract

      Installation charge: $10,000

      Monthly charge: $1650

      Download Supplied: zero

      That's right, bandwidth goes on top of that. And the same company will do a 100/20Mbit connection for consumers for $149.95/month + bandwidth costs.

    2. Grumpy Old Fart


      How will this take us backwards?

      I just don't get the logic of this. If NBN is more expensive than your current copper-based service, and you don't need the speed, don't sign up for it (but let them install the fibre to your home so you don't get penalised when selling your place because the next owners will need to install the fibre).

      The govt isn't holding a gun to your head and forcing you to upgrade to a faster internet, it's just trying to install a modern fibre network. If you want to remain in the last century and not have a speedy fibre service, that's your call...what's the problem?

      The copper network we're using at the moment was built to enable non-packet-switched continuous connections between two telephones. It now does so much more, but we're stretching it. Please for the love of all things shiny just let them upgrade the network. You don't have to use it, but those of who really really really want a proper broadband service need this to go through successfully. I know it's Labour's idea so therefore automatically a terrible idea that needs to be opposed, but just for once can we not let partisan politics get in the way of a good thing? Just once?

      1. Radon

        Good for business, not necessarily for residential.

        The prices given are for residential. So checking Internode's business packages, I expect business are the big winners here. Many people I know (residential) will be the losers in the NBN pricing. That's assuming the copper is going to be removed to allow an NBN monopoly.

        If I were running a business, I would be very happy if these are the kind of prices to be expected.

        Happy for someone to clarify this if I'm wrong.

        It will be very interesting to see other companies put out NBN residential pricing, also to see full business pricing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        "I just don't get the logic of this. If NBN is more expensive than your current copper-based service, and you don't need the speed, don't sign up for it."

        As I understand it, Telstra is ripping out all the copper as part of the $11bn deal with the govt. It's either NBN or nothing from then onwards. You just get the choice of ISP to move bits across the network on your behalf.

      3. John Angelico

        Whoa there, GOF

        You said:

        "The govt isn't holding a gun to your head and forcing you to upgrade to a faster internet..."

        Well, how do you explain the big money being paid to shut down of the copper and HFC networks?

    3. DavidRa

      I think it's you doing the joking.

      Yes, Internode is a premium provider. Still not as bad as Telstra (was?) though.

      Where can you get a phone line + 25M/5M service (guaranteed sync rates) with 30GB of data for $70? Or 25/5M with 200GB for $90? I'm paying $90 now on a Telstra port for that much data and lower sync rates (and yes, I'm with Internode) - and that's not including the sodding copper (which we pay for and then Telstra attempt to ignore service and support). For me it's $25 cheaper with those published prices, and I suspect I'm not alone.

      Heck - show me anyone who will guarantee 12M/1M sync with a phone line today at those prices (don't forget to drop the $25 off the price for the phone service)? Also note the word guarantee there.

      Dodo (widely regarded as a "cheap" provider) lists their current 10GB DSL service as a total of $50 (or $35 as a Naked service) - 100GB (if you can get it, that is) is $10 more. So cheap provider of DSL of whatever speed the line is capable of, with dial tone for $20/m less than Internode. Good luck with the contention ratio though, there are no guarantees of sync rates let alone performance.

      I'd say that the plans are actually pretty reasonable - especially for those of us who remember 500MB with Telstra Cable for $100+, and 19c/MB.

    4. Steven Roper

      @ Mike29 and Grumpy Old Fart

      Mike 29 says "The NBN does not close the market, if someone wants to build a competing technology there is nothing to stop them doing so"

      Grumpy Old Fart says "If NBN is more expensive than your current copper-based service, and you don't need the speed, don't sign up for it (but let them install the fibre to your home so you don't get penalised when selling your place because the next owners will need to install the fibre)."

      There's one thing you're forgetting there guys. It is a condition of the NBN rollout that once it's in place the old copper infrastructure gets retired. What that means is that those who don't sign up to the NBN now will be forced onto it whether they like it or not, because the old ADSL services will no longer be available. Internet prices are already outrageous in this country compared to the rest of the world, when the expensive NBN is the only option I think we'll see more internet cafe usage and less connections to already struggling households. You know, like in China. The way this country's been headed ever since John Howard came to power.

  2. Fashtas

    Small business, thats me

    I fall in the range of a small business (Entirely Internet reliant) that can't really justify the 2k a month for a corporate account. I'm getting by with a 1tb ADSL2 which is good enough.

    In my little industry, I know a half a dozen other companies I do business with that are in the same situation. Dunno if the NBN is any good, or crap, or too expensive, or the devils work... but for us (Small Bus.) it's fantastic!

  3. niku

    totally agree

    I run a SME (18 ppl) we currently have to fork out $1200 a month for a 10/10 fibre service. The internode plans may be consumer based, and contention etc may come into it, but for a $1000/month saving, no brainer.

  4. robert 15

    $6k / mo

    we pay $6k/mo for a 12mb / 12mb unlimited data fiber connection here in sydney...

    hoping the NBN will make the same of faster speed link available for a more affordable price.

    And if i can get 100mb / 40mb at home for $190/mo, thats a price I am willing to pay.

    Foxtel costs me over $100/m as it is. I would rather have the faster speeds and ditch the murdoch TV

  5. david 12 Silver badge

    Present Business Fibre cost

    I haven't got a current quote, but it wasn't very expensive --- except for the massive connection fee, which took 4 years to pay off, and would have taken decades to pay off if compared to consumer-grade ADSL.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Living in Perth....

    ...I don't expect to ever see this NBN thingo.

    [goes back to his ADSL1]

    1. Peter Murphy

      I think you're in luck, AC.

      Here's a coverage map:

  7. Ronny Cook

    $180/month is for a TERABYTE of data

    The $180/month plan includes a terybyte of data transfer and is at the maximum available transfer speed. The pricing as quoted is pretty similar to the current pricing plans of the "premium" ADSL providers. The way some treat it, you would thing everybody with a $50/month plan will have their price quadrupled. Not so.

    Currently the company I work for has two plans with Internode, for 5GB and 20GB (they're backup links). We are billed $49.95 and $59.95 for these, in addition to the phone line (which is about $30/month). The NBN pricing is uniformly better - $59.95/month for a 30GB commercial service. (Internode now have commercial prixing up on their web site; it's about $10/month over the noncommercial rates.

    (Maybe they're ripping us off in comparison to current pricing, in which case it can't hurt to know that Internode are not against ripping their customers off.)

  8. andro

    great thing, and will get cheaper

    I wouldnt worry about the opening day prices for something that doesnt even exist yet, (other than in a couple of test areas). Like all technology prices will come down. You can be an early adopter if you wish and sign up on day 1, or wait 6 months and see where things are at then. Any provider is going to include a healthy margin to begin with, while the network is all new and they are establishing their own teams and procedures to manage it. Once its all go, then they can streamline their operations and drop their prices to keep up with the competitors who are doing the same.

    I remember how many people said "I dont need ADSL, dialup is fine", but ive not seen any of them want to go back now! Can you imagine how cool it will be when can stream high bitrate content straight to our TVs with flawless quality? Most internet streams are a joke compared to bluray quality now. Bring it on!

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