NBN Co Wants To Offer Cheap 1GB Plans But With Baby Upload Speeds

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NBN Co floated the idea of offering more affordable plans with faster speeds a few months back. No one's opposed to that. But the way it plans on doing it means you'll have to forego upload speeds. Here's what it proposes.

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The NBN Co has released a pricing consultation paper, which outlines the network's need to meet Australia's growing data demands. It noted everyone wants faster speeds and for cheaper so in order to do that, it's proposing to give internet services providers (ISPs) the same bandwidth for a lower cost (also known as a CVC charge) as well as slashing upload speeds considerably.

In other words, to increase the ISPs' bandwidth and keep the cost of your monthly plans down, the NBN's looking to sacrifice your upload speeds but keep your download speeds solid.

The issue? Higher upload speeds are crucial for anyone needing to send files and content. It's the difference between a few minutes and a full hour for anyone using a cloud service to back up their device's files, like images and videos. So, while everyone will notice a difference in speeds for streaming video content as this uses download speeds, that affordable package will really start to sting once you start trying to transfer photos from a recent holiday to your cloud account.

NBN's proposed 2020 bundles, at first glance, appear quite affordable, especially when compared with the cost NBN customers have been facing for years. With the proposed increased bandwidth capacity, it's suggesting an entry-level bundle with 100-megabit download speed and 20-megabit upload speed will be available for $58 per month when it's due for release in May 2020. This means a $7 cost saving but a 20-megabit drop in upload speeds compared to the current 100-megabit plans that have a 40-megabit upload speed.

Also proposed is a one-gigabit download speed bundle with a 50-megabit upload speed for $80 per month. It has a download speed 10 times faster than the NBN 100 plans offered to end users right now. But it's important to note these are the wholesale costs, meaning internet service providers (ISPs) will likely add more to that figure in order to make a profit.

  • A 100/20Mbps bundle discount starting with 3.75Mbps of included CVC capacity at $58 per month.
  • A 250/25Mbps bundle discount starting with 4.75Mbps of included CVC capacity at $68 per month.
  • A 1000/50Mbps bundle discount starting with 5.75Mbps of included CVC capacity at $80 per month.

For comparison, here are some of the NBN's current bundles available for internet service providers:

  • 100/40Mbps bundle with 3.75Mbps of included CVC capacity (from May 2020) at $65 per month.
  • 250/100Mbps bundle with 3.25Mbps of included CVC capacity (from May 2020) at $100 per month.
  • 500/200Mbps bundle with 3.25Mbps of included CVC capacity (from May 2020) at $130 per month.

And while the 150Mbps increase between NBN's proposed 100/20Mbps bundle and the 250/25Mbps offering seems fantastic for only an extra $10 per month, the increase of five megabits in upload speed is incredibly slim. If you manage to achieve that maximum upload speed, likely if you have stable connection and during off-peak times, you'll still be below the global average upload speed of 35.09Mbps, according to Ookla's Speedtest.

The title for the world's fastest upload speed belongs to Singapore, which boasts an average of 200.58Mbps, slightly higher than its download speed of 193.90Mbps. Australia, in 58th position, manages an upload average of 17.84Mbps.

Everyone wants Australia to have affordable and fast internet in line with our peers, the NBN included, but it shouldn't have to come at the cost of drastic sacrifices to our upload speeds.

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