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nbn™ to ISPs: share your speeds or we'll share 'em for you

nbn™ financials, the speed scandal, and 'what millennials like part 1,096'

NBN Week Australia's National Broadband Network “speed scandal” was in the news again last week, as nbn™, the company building and operating the network, suggested it should publish its internal speed data to resolve the issue.

Last week, Telstra 'fessed up that it can't always deliver the speeds it advertises, blaming nbn™ for inadequate data about network conditions.

Telstra owns the copper right up until the point that nbn™ takes ownership of it, but it's probably not allowed to collect that information prior to handover – it would mean Telstra Wholesale and Telstra Retail exchanging information not available to other carriers.

Announcing its first quarter results, nbn™ CEO Bill Morrow said it was considering whether to publish its internal estimates of theoretical performance on individual customer tails.

He dropped a hint for retailers, saying if they didn't publish the information themselves, it would be “more likely” that nbn™ would.

The network issues that strangle user speeds will either take months to fix, or will be fixed within months, depending on which way you want to spin Morrow's words.

nbn™ financials

Financial results are regularly good, and rather dull, news for nbn™, and the first quarter of 2017-2018 was no exception.

With connections ramping up, so is revenue. The company reported AU$420 million of cash arrived on the back of 2.9 million premises having been activated with NBN connections.

With 520,000 activations in quarter, most of them fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), that technology overtook fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) for the first time. There are now 289k activations on the hybrid fibre-coax network, 1.27m on FTTN, and 1.1m on FTTP.

Alas, average revenue per user (ARPU) remains at $43 per month, well below the corporate target of $52. nbn™ has long said that ARPU should tick up once it starts to sell business services.

Millennial renters want NBN service

Fairfax's real-estate offshoot Domain reports a promo-survey from CRIBZ, saying NBN access is worth as much as $30 a month to millennial renters (that's two smashed avocado toasts, or half a dozen artisanal coffees, as a rough guide).

“Millennial renter” is a tautology, because they famously can't afford to buy houses in Australian cities, thanks to low wage growth, the casualisation of everything, high property prices and a ruinous appetite for avocado toast and artisanal coffee.

The report noted that demographic wants NBN access for services like Netflix and Spotify, which will probably get picked up by conservative commentators are decadent pursuits that the young didn't enjoy back when they watched black and white TVs the size of the only apartments millennials can afford to rent. ®

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