Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s chair, Rod Sims, said earlier this year NBN affordability was an issue for people on lower incomes.
Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s chair, Rod Sims, said earlier this year NBN affordability was an issue for people on lower incomes.

Is NBN too costly for millions of Aussies?

MILLIONS of Australians are yet to sign up to the National Broadband Network and some are choosing to hold off as long as possible.

Just last week the NBN rolled out new deals, including a 250 megabits plan with a 25Mbps upload for a wholesale charge of $68 per month, which is 32 per cent cheaper than the existing 250/100 (download/upload speeds) bundle.

The new deals are to be reviewed and offers will be finalised in November.

And with the NBN due to be completed in June 2020, latest figures show more than 5.9 million homes and businesses are connected, while another 4.27 million are yet to join.

Financial comparison website Finder quizzed 1000 Australians and found

51 per cent have signed up, 14 per cent are holding off as long as possible and 7 per cent say they will never sign up.

Others will sign up as soon as possible or in the next 18 months, while some don't have home internet, it found.

People have 18 months from when the NBN arrives in their area to switch to the service.

Finder.com.au spokesman Angus Kidman said there were a few things consumers should do before signing up to the NBN.

"First, head online and check out whether the NBN is available at your home," he said.

"If it is available and you're not quite ready to switch, set yourself a reminder to check again in three months. Your existing connection will eventually get switched off."

Consumers should understand there are six speeds for fixed line services: NBN 12, 25, 50, 100, 250 and 1000. The digits represent megabits per second.

NBN spokesman Ryan Williams said users should talk to their provider about the speed tiers they offered.

This included "what average speeds they can expect and may require during the busy evening hours - 7pm to 11pm - and to pick a plan based on usage they need," he said.

Mr Williams said there were more than 100 internet and phone providers to choose from.

But consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's chair, Rod Sims, said earlier this year NBN affordability was an issue for people on lower incomes.

"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," he said.

For $50 per month a customer can still get an ADSL internet and internet voice plan with 100 gigabytes of data.

Tangerine Telecom's chief executive officer, Andrew Branson, said it had 20,000 customers and gave new clients a trial to see if they were happy with the NBN.

"We allow customers to try our service for 14 days and if they are unsatisfied we give them a risk-free trial and give them a full refund," he said.

"All our products are no contract. They can leave at any point and there's no fees."

To check if NBN is available in your area, visit nbnco.com.au.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth