Man using the internet on a tablet deviceWhat’s happening?

NBN Co has recently announced a delay to the withdrawal of its discounts on the NBN 12mbps speed tier for fixed line services. The discounts were originally planned to be withdrawn at the end of May but will now stay until the end of July.

The withdrawal of these discounts means that the wholesale cost for NBN services (i.e. the price that telcos pay to NBN Co) will increase, depending on whether the service is purchased at the old unbundled price or on NBN’s new bundled price. See ACCAN’s analysis of the proposed changes here.

We’ve already seen telcos begin to pass on these increased costs to consumers, with many providers withdrawing their offers for the cheapest 12mbps and 25mbps services from the market. Since these changes began in April, consumers have been left with fewer options when it comes to choosing an NBN plan. The plans remaining in the market are higher speed options, with plans starting at the 50mbps speed tier at prices of $70 from Telstra (for 100GB) and Optus unlimited, and $90 for an unlimited Telstra service1.

This reflects in part retailers’ uncertainty as to their future wholesale costs, and an unwillingness to offer consumers longer term contracts against the backdrop of this uncertainty.

How do these changes impact consumers?

If you are one of the million or so households already on a 12mbps NBN plan, you should not be immediately affected. However, new customers and households re-contracting with their provider after July - a significant portion of the market - may see an increase in the price they pay for a basic NBN service.

ACCAN believes that these price increases have eroded the affordability of the NBN and will mean that many Australians can’t access internet services that are suitable for their needs. We are proposing the creation of a concessional service for low income households, which would allow all Australians to access an NBN service that is suitable to their needs.

What should consumers do next?

It’s important to remember that it is not all doom and gloom, with a variety of increasingly affordable NBN alternatives coming onto the market that may be suitable for consumers with lower speed and download needs. For those consumers looking for a replacement of their existing 12mbps NBN service there are several offers in the market that are worth looking at.

If you primarily use the internet for low speed activities like checking social media, reading emails and downloading content to watch there are a series of wireless broadband services that may be suitable for your needs that won’t break the bank. These services use the same technology as the internet on your mobile phone.

Need more information on data? Read our guides to how much data you’re likely to need and what speed would most likely suit your household.

There are also some NBN services still in the market that may be more affordable for consumers.

I’m on a budget, and don’t need high speeds, but need to have a broadband connection

Our market research has found the following options are available for those living in the fixed line footprint:

$40 per month

$45 per month

I have a bit more to spend and have a need for speed

$55 per month

$60 per month

Exetel - unlimited 50mbps NBN service

There are more offers available than shown on this list, and you’ll need to check to see if these products are available in your area, so make sure to contact the provider before signing up. If you see a better offer in the market, we’d love to hear about it so please feel free to comment below. We will be updating our information as better offers become available.

It might be time to start thinking about switching

If you are one of the million or so households currently on a 12mbps NBN service facing the prospect of higher costs, and you have an average or below average data usage, it might be time to consider more affordable alternatives to your current NBN contract.

I’m an older Australian who needs a reliable voice connection

It’s important to know that if you are an older Australian who needs a reliable voice connection that Telstra remains the only service provider who has priority assistance and is bound by minimum standards regarding connection and fault rectification times. For more information on priority assistance visit Telstra.


1 Based on offers listed on the 23rd of April 2019.


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