In a past consultation paper, NBN Co floated the idea of raising the prices for Australian broadband users based on the type of data they were using rather than the amount. This was dubbed the ‘Netflix tax’ by critics, as it was predominantly targeting streaming media usage.
The proposal was met with wide backlash and considered an attack on net neutrality, but NBN back-pedalled on the seriousness of the proposal, claiming that its wording didn’t specify whether it was a price increase or decrease for such usage.
Now, though, NBN Co’s chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb has said there are “no plans” to charge users based on their streaming, with the most recent consultation paper revealing that only two retail service providers (RSPs) actually supported the idea, and that they proposed video streaming be charged less rather than more.
Need for speed
In order to accommodate these data-hungry users as well as appease RSPs such as Telstra, who are complaining of high wholesale charges they pay to the national broadband company, NBN Co is proposing “three new wholesale high-speed tiers and associated bundle discounts”.
These proposed plans include a more affordable version of the 100Mbps plan, which has 20Mbps upload speeds rather than 40Mbps (although download speeds will remain unchanged), as well as two entirely new high-speed plans – 250/25Mbps and ‘up to’ 1000/50Mbps.
It’s worth noting that these plans are just proposals at this stage and, even if they are established, it would be up to the discretion of the RSPs to determine whether or not they’re passed onto consumers, or in what format they would be sold.
The latter two plans would be made available to FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) and HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) customers if they do end up launching, “and the feasibility of offering these tiers in the FTTC (Fibre to the Curb) footprint is being investigated”.
There’s no word on when consumers could expect these high-speed plans to come into play, but NBN Co aims to get further feedback on them from the industry by releasing a more detailed report on the products in the near future.