Notes from Joint Standing Committee: August 2018

Below is a statement from NBN Co Chief Financial Officer Stephen Rue that captures his opening remarks at the Joint Standing Committee and includes additional detail for clarity.

You may be aware that our Annual Results call is scheduled for tomorrow [August 16, 2018] morning. Many of our partners and customers are listed companies and commercial entities, so there is little I can say about the results until they’re announced through the regular process.

Obviously, we have made our end of year rollout figures such as activations and Ready to Connect available as usual on our website.

The Corporate Plan is also scheduled to be released by the end of August, once approved by our shareholders. I look forward to discussing this with you once the plan is public

I know this Committee has been advocating for people in rural and regional areas, and it’s great that that is a focus of your inquiry. I know you’re particularly interested in the Fixed Wireless network, so let me update you on our progress with that.

You would know that we have been consulting with industry on the Fixed Wireless network, which is, of course, a finite resource because it relies on available spectrum.

As with any technology, we are continually assessing demand and capacity on the network so we can help people get a consistent experience.

We want to reassure you and the public that we are continuing to upgrade capacity on the network, prioritising those areas where people are experiencing, or are at-risk of, experiencing congestion.

To date, more than 3,100 cells across the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network have had capacity upgrades completed. Of these, more than 2,200 were completed so far this calendar year, with a similar number scheduled by the end of this year.

We continue to examine options to help manage demand on the network, but we will consult with industry before adopting any new initiatives.

Following industry consultation, which is now complete, NBN Co will launch new Fixed Wireless discount bundles on Monday, August 20 to internet providers. We listened to feedback throughout the consultation and have kept the bundled price of the 50 Mbps product at $45 for existing users. 

We are consulting on a “Max” bundle at around the same price point. We hope these discussions can be concluded in around nine months’ time.

These new wholesale bundle discounts will provide Retail Service Providers (RSPs) with added flexibility and choice to package and price their retail plans for homes and businesses.

Similar to NBN Co’s Fixed Line pricing, the Fixed Wireless bundle discounts will include access and an associated amount of bandwidth for a single effective discounted charge for internet providers.

We will also be consulting with internet providers over the coming months on a new product idea to better reflect user demand on the Fixed Wireless network.

We will continue to work with industry to deliver a consistent fixed wireless service into the future.

So thank you, and we now look forward to answering your questions.

*This statement was updated at 10:38 am and 5:25 pm on August 16, 2018