When was the last time you received some internet service provider advertising material in your letterbox? AOL CDs anyone? When the NBN comes to town you can expect to receive promotional letters spruiking the arrival and benefits of fast fibre in your area. The retail service providers – RSPs in NBN Co parlance – are all vying for your business again and the opportunity to churn is clear.
One of the big promises of a national broadband network owned by the government is the open access afforded to private sector ISPs. I won’t bore you with history, but the biggest mistake made by the government during deregulation of the telecommunications market in the nineties was not to separate the infrastructure from the retail providers. Hence we ended up with Australia’s largest wholesaler also being Australia’s largest retailer. Whether more structural separation was possible I don’t know, but one thing’s for sure not a great deal of effort was made to open up access and spur competition.
The NBN demolishes all this. Any retailer has the same wholesale costs and can thereby compete more on pricing, bundles, support and value-added services. No more excuses from RSP marketing directors, right? In thoery get your name out there are get NBN customers.
Before you can get a FTTP service you will get RSP brochures lobbing into your letterbox. So far I’ve received Telstra and iiNet and someone I know who does have NBN access was wooed in by iPrimus.
It’s kind of like 1999 all over again – it’s cool to be in the internet industry and customer are getting something they have not yet experienced.
With so many RSPs offering what is ostensibly the same service how do you decide which one to go with? The reasons are many and varied, but here are the main ones:
- Availability (some traditional ISPs don’t offer NBN yet, including mine annoyingly enough)
- Brand loyalty
- Cost of access speed (bandwidth)
- Access shaping speed
- Cost of data download allowance
- Customer service and support
- Value-added services (telephony, etc)
I recommend using the NBN as an opportunity to look at an alternative ISP and excercise some competition. I think I’ll give my existing ISP all of about a month to see what NBN package it can come up with. If nothing surfaces I’m off to the best value plan around in two shapes of a fibre tail.
What to do when the NBN comes to town blog series: