The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that there are now more than 8.5 million fixed broadband subscriptions connected via the National Broadband Network (NBN), of which 75% are signed up to a service with download speeds of at least 50Mbps.
In publishing its latest ‘NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report’, the regulator noted that in the three months ended 30 September 2021 retail service providers (RSPs) signed up a combined 450,000 residential and business fixed broadband subscribers to tariffs offering maximum downlink speeds of either 50Mbps or 100Mbps services. Of that figure, around 150,000 were reported to be subscriptions that were upgraded from entry level plans, which offer speeds of either 12Mbps or 25Mbps. However, the ACCC did also reveal that the number of subscriptions on a plan offering speeds of 100Mbps or more had declined by around 195,000 – to 455,720 from 651,267 at mid-2021 – with the drop attributed to ‘the scaling back of NBN Co’s ‘Focus on Fast’ promotion, which saw customers on promotional offers returning to their previous speed tiers’.
Meanwhile, with regards to a breakdown of access types being used to connect, the ACCC’s quarterly report confirmed that fibre-to-the-note (FTTN) continued to account for the largest portion of NBN subscriptions. A total of 3.090 million subscriptions were connected via that technology at end-September, up from 3.006 million a year earlier, while HFC-based accesses represented the next largest slice of the pie – 1.955 million, up from 1.812 million at 30 September 2020.
Finally, in terms of the market share of RSPs offering services via the NBN, the ACCC noted that Aussie Broadband had continued to make ‘strong gains’, with that provider accounting for almost one third of the wholesale services added in Q3 2021, lifting its market share to 5.1%. Superloop was also said to have increased its share in the quarter, and after acquiring Exetel in August 2021 now has the sixth highest market share at 1.5%. Telstra, however, remains ahead of the pack, accounting for 44.3% of all NBN-based subscriptions at 30 September 2021, down from 45.7% a year earlier.
Commenting on the inroads being made by smaller providers, meanwhile, ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said: ‘Smaller niche providers have injected competition into the market for broadband services and they now go some way to constraining the big four of Telstra, TPG, Optus and Vocus. Smaller providers give consumers real choice in the service quality and range of products to meet their needs.’