NBN affordability becoming an issue for pensioners

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The cost of basic NBN plans is becoming an affordability issue for people on lower incomes, according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims.

Speaking at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney, Mr Sims said that NBN plans were now more expensive than what most consumers pay for equivalent ADSL alternatives.

For around $50 per month, a customer could and still can get an ADSL internet and voice plan with a 100 gigabyte (GB) quota, or pay $60 for an unlimited quota plan.

“We are now observing prices of low-speed NBN plans offered to new customers that are at least $10 per month higher than what consumers paid for equivalent ADSL plans,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC attributes this to new NBN Co wholesale pricing introduced in the past six months.

The wholesale cost of accessing the NBN to supply a basic 12-megabit service has increased substantially and is now close to the cost of a 50-megabit service.

“There is a fundamental question of fairness here for those on low incomes,” Mr Sims said.

The Australian Greens’ digital rights spokesperson Jordon Steele-John addressed this issue last month when launching his party’s policy on the NBN.

“The reality is that Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to having access to reliable, affordable and high quality internet services,” Mr Steele-John said.

“Our promise is to make quality telecommunications affordable for all Australians.”

Part of the Greens’ NBN policy platform includes spending $1.3 billion to establish a federal telecommunication concession. That concession would provide $60 a quarter to all holders of a DHS Health Care Card and will replace the limited Telephone Allowance and fund an NBN migration program for vulnerable consumers to help close the digital divide.

Mr Sims also stressed the importance of the ACCC’s current wholesale service standards inquiry, which aims to bring about improvements in the time taken by NBN Co to connect new customers and fix faults, and to keep scheduled appointments or provide compensation for missing appointments.

“If the wholesale standards are high, retail service providers can offer strong service commitments to their customers. However, if any of these activities are not up to scratch, retailers and, more importantly, the consumer will bear the pain,” Mr Sims said.

“We also believe NBN Co’s entry-level services should be anchored to existing ADSL pricing. This is only fair to consumers because they have no choice but to move to the NBN as their existing services are being withdrawn.

“But more importantly, consumers [who] already want the higher speeds that the NBN makes possible also stand to benefit from pricing that reflects the additional value.”

Are you struggling to pay for your NBN service? How much extra does your plan cost than the previous ADSL plan? Are you satisfied with the NBN in your area? Should people on low and fixed incomes like Age Pensioners receive a concession for their internet service?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 30
  1. 0

    Who would have thought that the Liberals, by changing Labor’s first world NBN for a third world NBN would give us a more expensive fourth rate model.

  2. 0

    I think it’s time that people are made aware that NBN is one type of way to access the internet, but not the only way. WIFI prices and plans have fallen drastically and will not be disappearing because wifi is what is used to get the signal from the NBN cable to your router. NBN is a huge con and the advertising is completely misleading. Your phones will not work without a wifi signal even with a sim card!

    • 0

      Agree some of those WIFI devices as just as fast and relatively cheap now too. $15GB for $10 is cheap.

    • 0

      Been looking at this for the (last) move – wi-fi is half the speed…. hmmmm.. what is most important is a reliable connection, and the old wire to the house is the problem.

    • 0

      My internet and phone are wireless NBN which means I have a dish on my roof instead of using the old wire.

      I also have both Telstra and Optus WIFI devices that I use when touring around the country and both are as good as my home NBN.

  3. 0

    Still on ADSL2 the NBN was due last February. So much for the Libs promise of faster cheaper and available than the Labour plan.
    Cant trust this mob on any anything they say.
    I might wait for the 5G network and get on to a wireless service.

    • 0

      4b2 you are so right they ruined the NBN we know why and of coarse they stopped the Chinese 5G coming in to the country, security or not one of their mates the Chinese have the port of Darwin for 99yrs though makes you think

  4. 0

    My internet and phone is less than half the cost it was before I got the NBN.

    • 0

      Prove it – back your false comments up. My sister in next suburb, on pension, had to buy a newer modem, connection is worse and often comes to my place to use her computer. (I am not connected to NBN yet). She did go to a cheaper carrier who was absolutely hopeless (you get what you pay for). Went back to original carrier, though bill is considerably dearer. I am a member of a local Seniors Club and almost without exception, everyone has problems with NBN. Many wait to go to the Club Offices to use their laptop. It is the number one issue of members.

    • 0

      I now get a package of internet, free calls, CND, and message bank for less than it used to cost me for ADSL alone. I now have no lock in contract. I also have free WIFI as well when I am out and about.

      I have no issues and get told of scheduled maintenances.

      So glad we have such good internet thanks to the NBN.

    • 0

      I also got a new modem, personal video recorder and phone included in the package too.

  5. 0

    My area still not connected to NBN. However, had NBN technicians in our street abut 5 months ago who dug up TWO houses for connection to NBN. Other 18 houses not touched. Yet houses in next suburb were connected 5 months ago and our local paper has been inundated with customers with people having far worse connection than previous. Pensioners hugely hit – have to buy new modem, and monthly prices are far more expensive.

    • 0

      NBN I is a rip off .If Some companies do not charge for modem. Modem with Tesltra was free and so was the technician who installed the NBN due to pensioner concession.

  6. 0

    All cost in Australia are out of control and the government can’t blame the Unions .It must be corporate greed.

  7. 0

    Yes, I’m still with the same provider but since I had to join nbn the connection is not as reliable or quick and it is costing me more!! Talk about a third world facility…

  8. 0

    The part I am not understanding is where the NBN has anything to do with those who access the system. NBN is a wholesale provider which onsells to a retail provider such as Telstra, Optus, Dodo and others who, in turn sell the access to us, the public. I understand that the NBN may have raised costs which will be passed on but the speed depends on how much bandwidth the retailer buys.

    I am a cynical person and it seems too much of a coincidence that this subject is now being raised just prior to an election. Just this morning we saw three retired firefighters telling us that climate change is responsible for the fires around the world. No mention of back burning to ease the ferocity of fires. Coincidence?

  9. 0

    NBN another govt lemon

  10. 0

    Another garbage story – the NBN/Internet charge MAY be higher then ADSL but you’re not paying the line fee you had to pay for the phone service. Unless you have gone to a much higher NBN plan your total cost should be lower.

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