Affordability of basic NBN products under investigation

Font Size:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will consider whether Australians are able to access basic broadband plans at fair and affordable prices.

The inquiry will examine wholesale prices paid by retail service providers (RSPs), which use the NBN to supply residential-grade broadband services.

The ACCC’s inquiry will focus on prices for basic speed broadband products offering 12/1 Mbps and will consider whether regulation is needed to ensure a smooth transition for consumers to the NBN from legacy services such as ADSL.

“We have concerns that NBN Co’s wholesale pricing has resulted in unfair outcomes for those consumers who have no need for, or do not want, higher speed plans,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Most consumers have no choice but to migrate to the NBN if they want to keep their home service active but are at risk of not being able to obtain a comparable NBN service at a similar price to their ADSL service.”

The inquiry will assess whether NBN Co’s most recent pricing offers (in particular, NBN Co’s recent changes to its Entry Level Bundle) will allow RSPs to offer attractive retail NBN plans at ADSL-like prices.

The ACCC first raised these concerns publicly in April 2019, after NBN Co’s wholesale pricing changes in late 2018 led to the withdrawal of many basic speed retail plans.

The ACCC is also concerned about NBN Co’s continued use of discounts to adjust access prices.

NBN Co can withdraw these discounts ahead of a notice period that it sets itself. The ACCC is concerned that these arrangements may not be providing enough certainty for RSPs as they develop and promote their retail offers.

“This lack of certainty creates unnecessary risks that may ultimately be passed on to consumers, who may face higher prices and reduced quality and product offerings as a result,” Mr Sims said.

The inquiry will also look at NBN Co’s service transfer and reversal charges. These fees are applied each time an existing service is transferred between access seekers.

The ACCC considers these charges can discourage the efficient use of service transfer processes, impeding competition and impacting consumers.

“We want to hear from interested parties as part of this public and transparent inquiry process,” Mr Sims said.

“Right now, we are approaching a peak period for NBN service activations and mandatory migrations. The window for many consumers to migrate to the NBN without losing their existing fixed line service is closing.

“We are interested in what changes can be made quickly to promote competition and the interests of consumers, while allowing NBN Co the opportunity to grow its revenues, invest in its business and earn an appropriate rate of return,” Mr Sims said.

Have you migrated across to the NBN? How much do you pay for the service? Have you signed up for a basic package?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Hospital hackers could steal your identity

New research uncovers the specific data leaked through hospital breaches.

Australians with a home phone connected are in the minority

Looking at long-term trends for the technologies Australians use.

Things that will soon be obsolete

Do you ever drive past old Blockbuster Video stores and think what will be obsolete next?

Written by Ben


Total Comments: 12
  1. 0

    Yes I have a basic package, and for some time now. It has been problematic from the beginning but I am prepared to accept much of the considerable frustration and inconvenience as teething problems. Most have gone.

    The remaining problem is that my provider does not buy enough capacity to ensure I have a reliable service. While I accept some slowing of service might be part of the deal, a complete lack of access for whole days and evenings leaves me wondering exactly what I am paying for, and what exactly should I accept as the reasonable limitations of a basic package.

    Why should my interests be least meaningful than those of people streaming movies, TV or playing games?

    The amount I pay is comparable with my ADSL cost, but the service is nowhere near what I used to have – and my phone also disappears for hours at a time when once I could rely on my landline no matter what else went on. I also now have to pay the cost of electricity to run all this new stuff, in addition to the PC itself.

    The government should be paying age pensioners an annual compensation for the loss of amenity and the increased costs of having a reliable service. I am sure if I could afford to upgrade I could have what I used to have in the old system but rising costs of internet access for basic phone and email are bad enough already. If I had been given a choice (thanks very much Malcolm for a c**p service) I would have stayed with my lovely reliable and affordable ADSL and landline phone.

  2. 0

    There are more important things to review, such as why our current you-beaut system fails so much.

  3. 0

    Was happy with my ADSL connection and land line but I was given no choice in the matter.
    Service has settled now after a few months – costs have gone up but they included a mobile phone
    in the package at $15 per month.

  4. 0

    Am I missing something here? I was led to believe that the NBN Co sold plans to retailers who, in turn, onsold to the general public.

  5. 0

    My issue with Telstra is their compulsory migration of my package to a package that gives me 200 GB of data but costs me an extra $5 per month. Since we have never used more than 1Gb per month I am paying extra for data I don’t need. I have complained to Telstra and they placated me with a discount on our mobile payments. However the fact remains that their packages are aimed at high end data users not us mere mortals. They “could not” let us remove the landline phone and we do not qualify for their special ‘pensioner’ package. Still not happy Jan, but it does pay to complain!

  6. 0

    I am in the fortunate position of not being forced to get the horrible NBN. Here in ACT, TransACT [now owned by iiNet] ran fibre optic cable all over Canberra years ago. I have that going into my house, because when I sold the old one and moved, the first thing I did was make sure TransACT was connected! iiNet sent me an email telling me that because the NBN could not match anywhere near the speeds I was already getting, I don’t have to have it. So every time I get one of those threatening emails demanding I connect to NBN, I just send them a PDF of iiNet’s email. I think they have finally shut up, because it’s now some time since I was hassled. Happiness is no NBN!!

    • 0

      The area I live in has fibre optic cable put in by private contractor Opticomm.
      In some areas that have to have NBN for telephone etc. The modems put in the houses are sometimes put in dangerous places

    • 0

      The area I live in has fibre optic cable put in by private contractor Opticomm.
      In some areas that have to have NBN for telephone etc. The modems put in the houses are sometimes put in dangerous places

  7. 0

    I don’t pay any more for my broadband than I paid for my ADSL. I have a phone, unlimited internet & Foxtel package. It’s gone up $10 in the last 5 years, and I still get discounts.

  8. 0

    i am quite happy with my NBN. I have the voip telephone with it, which costs me usually $10 per month. I do pay a bit more than my old service, but I get faster, unlimited internet, and the customer service is great! Many folks don’t realise that to get a faster speed than you had before, you may have to pay more. It shouldn’t be the case, but it’s what we are stuck with for now. Perhaps the ACCCC will help with this.



continue reading


Do life insurance payouts affect the Age Pension?

Geoff's death policy pays out to his children, not his wife. How does this affect the pension? Q. GeoffMy wife...


Grip strength linked to mental disorders

Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression can increase physical health risks and are a leading cause of disability. Globally,...


Tobacco and childcare drive cost of living increase

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

Age Pension

Retirement system ‘uncertain for almost all retirees’

Australia, a nation of almost four million retirees, has one of the world's best retirement systems. The 2020 Mercer CFA...


The big question: How much do I need to retire?

Life expectancies continue to rise, and with that comes a host of challenges. For governments, there's the increasing cost to...


Understanding the true cost of retirement

The Australian government spends billions on boosting retirement incomes. The two biggest costs, the Age Pension and superannuation tax concessions,...

Age Pension

Adequacy of retiree nest eggs

YourLifeChoices conducts several surveys each year to gauge the financial, physical and mental health of our 260,000 members. The aim...

Age Pension

Age Pension payments in 2021 – what you need to know

World heavyweight boxing champion, Olympian, ordained minister and successful entrepreneur George Foreman returned to the ring at the age of...