If the NBN is going to make money then it needs a lot of customers taking the high speed packages, but how likely is that to happen?
I was canvassed earlier this week by TPG who offering me a 10 mbs broadband upload and download package for $199 per month. I said “No”.
If it had cost no more than my current package I might have said “Yes”, but then, who wouldn’t? The real question is how much extra I might pay for it. I suspect the answer to that is “Nothing”, although in the absence of a real offer I can’t be completely sure.
While Internet Thinking, our webdesign business, is obviously a technology business and therefore in the segment of the economy supposed to benefit from much higher broadband speeds, there is no reason we need any speeds better than what we have at the moment, unless we decide to run a server from our own office, but why would we do that?
With budgets tight and tightening there is zero appeal in increasing an existing overhead by even a small fraction.
But something I might do is take-up Telstra’s offer of 4G when my Optus mobile contract runs out. It might not be as technically good as ADSL, but I can see myself using it and getting a benefit. And once I’ve blown the non-existent budget on that I’ll be even less likely to want higher landline speeds.
It seems to me that Telstra has done a very good deal with the government with the sale of their copper network. They’ve sold a major risk of technological obsolescence to taxpayers in return for $11 bn of net present value over 30 years and they get to take the money and plough it into growth areas like mobile, while still being able to retail using the legacy technology.
At one stage I was describing the NBN as a plan to put a Ferrari in everyone’s garage to drive the information superhighway, when all most needed was a scooter. Now I am beginning to think it is like giving everyone a Leyland P76.