Thu, 13 Aug 2020 - 14:38
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Extraordinary growth on the NBN continues

The amount of data being carried by the National Broadband Network is continuing to grow at an extraordinary rate.

According to the ACCC’s just released Wholesale Market Indicators June 2020 report, data capacity over the NBN has grown by 85% in the last year.

Two factors have driven this strong growth: the number of NBN subscribers is up strongly; and the amount of data capacity provided to each subscriber also continues to grow.

In the last year, the number of subscribers on the NBN has increased 31 per cent from 5.7 million to 7.4 million, with subscribers growing by 383,000 in the last quarter.

And the amount of data capacity supplied to each subscriber, known as Connectivity Virtual Circuit or CVC, has grown by 41 per cent per user over the last year from 1.75 megabits per second (Mbps) to 2.47 Mbps.

This growth has resulted in an 85 per cent increase in the total data capacity supplied by the NBN over the last year from 9.9 million Mbps to 18.4 million Mbps.

Subscribers are increasingly choosing higher speed plans on the NBN. Going back over two years to the December quarter 2017, just 16 per cent of subscribers took a 50 Mbps or higher plan.  For the last quarter to June 2020, 67 per cent of subscribers took plans with speeds of 50 Mbps or higher, up from 65% in the March Quarter.

Something to watch is the number of people subscribing to plans at the very highest speed levels, Home Superfast (up to 250 Mbps) and Home Ultrafast (up to 1,000 Mbps, also known as 1 Gigabit per second.) The June report shows this was up 300% over the March quarter to 8925 subscribers.

It’s no coincidence that Australians are increasingly choosing higher speed plans on the NBN; these plans are becoming considerably more affordable according to ACCC research.

The ACCC Communications Market Report 2018-19 found since 2014-15 the retail price of the 50 Mbps service fell by 38 per cent in real terms from $144 per month to $89 per month. Similarly, the price of the 100 Mbps service fell 37 per cent from $171 per month to $108 per month.

The numbers tell a clear story about the NBN: prices are coming down, subscribers are growing quickly, and the data capacity supplied to each subscriber is expanding rapidly.