Australians in areas with Telstra pay-TV cables have flocked to the NBN, with the number subscribing to the national network multiplying four-fold in just one quarter.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its latest quarterly wholesale numbers on Wednesday morning, which showed 365,853 new NBN services were sold in the three months to March 31. This meant that now more than 2 million premises are subscribing to the NBN.
The biggest change since the last quarter was the number of services connected on hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) – the pay television cable installed in the 1990s. While the NBN took over the rights to both Telstra and Optus cables, in the end the Optus network was abandoned due to the expense of restoring it to a suitable standard.
At the end of last year, just 14,551 had the NBN through HFC, but the March quarter saw that base more than quadruple to 63,475.
The surge may be attributed to NBN’s accelerated roll out to metropolitan areas this year, with urban premises more likely to have existing pay television cables. The national network eventually expects 4 million premises to be served by HFC, mainly in capital cities.
An NBN spokesperson said that it’s too early to deduce any patterns in consumer behaviour.
“Today, only two million AVC services have been acquired by retailers — a quarter of NBN’s goal of eight million activated by 2020 — meaning it is too early to detect any long term market trends.”
The March report also showed the majority of Australians continued to go for the 25Mbps speed tier, even though the network was capable of dishing out 100Mbps or faster. The proportion of premises on the 25Mbps tier was at 55%, same as the previous quarter.
The ACCC has produced the quarterly wholesale report since April last year, and last month announced a $7 million programme to monitor NBN speeds to ensure consumers were getting the performance that retailers promise.