iiNet welcomes the strategic review of NBN Co and the commitment to a continuation of the rollout of superfast broadband by this Government. We’ve always been a strong supporter of the National Broadband Network and the plan to provide modern, superfast broadband across the country. This has not changed.
We have already connected more than 25,000 customers to the National Broadband Network, a number that is only going to accelerate as the network rollout continues. This validates our decision to be an early adopter of the NBN and provides us with unmatched experience of the needs expressed by our retail customers.
We’re particularly encouraged by the extra investment outlined in the review and the 2019 completion target, which will bring the benefits of superfast broadband earlier than expected.
It’s promising to see the assembly of a strong Board and management team at NBN Co, with a good mix of industry experience and a new customer focus. We’re excited by the renewed commitment to operational scalability and connecting as many people to the network as possible.
We applaud the focus in this review, on connecting those Australians who have been left behind in the digital economy – delivering fast broadband to the millions of households and businesses currently underserviced.
For the past four years, we’ve been providing NBN services to a range of eager customers. Providers like iiNet make sure we understand our customers and the range and types of services they need. With such a huge public investment, it is important that the NBN simply focuses on building a first-class wholesale communications network.
This period of re-examination by the Government should include a ‘step back’ by NBN Co from the design of retail services. This is a responsibility best left to expert retailers like iiNet. Service providers are well placed to respond to customer demand and design products and services, following direct feedback from the market. NBN Co should get on with network construction and leave the retail space to the retailers.
As a market leader of NBN services, we understand our customer needs more than most. This review seems preoccupied with download speeds and households, and ignores the small business owners who are set to benefit the most from improved performance.
The hundreds of businesses we’ve connected are looking for products designed for their needs – not those designed by a wholesale network operator. In our experience, businesses are looking for significantly greater upload speeds to allow them to operate more productively and to expand their market like never before.
It is clear from our own small business customers, who are signing up to NBN delivered services, that this important infrastructure can drive economic development by lowering costs, extending reach as well as creating employment and even export opportunities.
These things are the appropriate focus for investment in this country and, as such, it’s really a ‘no-brainer’ for a proud Australian company like iiNet to continue to support the NBN project.