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Vodafone: Australians should strive for higher-speed broadband

Vodafone: Australians should strive for higher-speed broadband

Matthew Lobb said telcos should work to help customers get faster internet plans instead of settling for the minimum

Matthew Lobb (Vodafone)

Matthew Lobb (Vodafone)

Credit: Vodafone

How telecommunications providers can give Australians the fastest broadband speed possible is the key issue said Matthew Lobb, Vodafone general manager for fixed broadband.

Speaking at ACCANect 2019, Lobb believes Australians should not settle for the minimum but telcos should be striving to get more customers on higher speed plans at a better price.

"And really, the important issue is that people's needs change, and Australians needs change. And we were quite impressed with 45 kilo-bits modems, in the early 2000s, but these days that would be seen as completely inadequate by all Australians," Lobb said.

"Similarly 10 megabits a second, which is ADSL2+, something from there was the norm 10 years ago, is not a worthwhile service for any Australians."

Lobb said that the issue is not the roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) but the pricing and the way it is sold are the key issues. 

Even though half of the consumers are buying the NBN 50 service, Lobb said he would like to see all consumers get that and Vodafone is working to get more consumers to buy faster speeds.

"So about 70 per cent of our customers are buying the NBN 100 service. And that's what we should be working towards. And that's not just for the everyday Australians but that's for all Australians. And that's what I think it needs to be the priority," said Lobb.

He said that the problem is not the NBN infrastructure and reiterated that the issue is how it is sold, and NBN Co is currently is doing a pricing review.

He said consumers should not settle for what is "the norm" and that is not a good idea to "lock in today".

"It is critical that this moves with times. And so locking down and mandating below speed services for the disadvantaged is not a particularly useful mission. I think you need to be more ambitious about that. And consumers will love you for it.

"So that's what I think that's a key issue, which is how do we get Australians to get the fastest speed possible," Lodd added.

Lobb also brought up a long time discussed issue by the telco which is the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund, a $300 million yearly fund that has been invested in Telstra's fixed voice services, or the "plain old telephone services".

"That plain old telephone service is an indication of how out of date it is. And it will be far better if that that fun was released, to be to be targeted to more flexible, more exciting opportunities."

Vodafone believes this fund should be released from the current contract with Telstra and applied to ensure that NBN continues to deliver services to all Australians in regional Australia and in difficult areas to get to. It could be used also for potentially mobile black spot funding, Lobb suggested.

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