Amidst an exodus of customers away from large telecommunications companies, small ISPs and MSPs are set to benefit further from changes to how the nbn is priced and regulated.
After several rounds of negotiation and rejection, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted the most recently proposed Special Access Undertaking (SAU) to the Australian national broadband network, the nbn. The SAU was proposed by the operator, NBN Co.
Some of the major changes that will be adopted thanks to the SAU include:
- The connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) bandwidth will no longer be charged for services of 100Mbps or more from 1 December, and for all other services from mid-2026.
- There will be a price ceiling for 12, 25, and 50Mbps services of no more than $55 in FY24, regardless of the amount of data consumed.
- There will be a new basic void and data service offered at half the price of the existing entry-level bandwidth offer.
- Wholesale prices for 25Mbps and 100Mbps or faster speeds will be reduced, though there will be a “small” increase in the wholesale price for the 50Mbps speed service.
On top of this, some of the regulatory changes will be most encouraging for smaller ISPs and MSPs. As noted by ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey, the SAU will result in a more competitive wholesale environment to go with the pricing and service quality improvements.
“Greater competition between retailers will lead to more choice and innovative products for consumers,” Brakey said in a release.
“The variation introduces a new framework for setting service standards that aims to deliver greater consistency in the quality of service that NBN Co provides to broadband providers.”
How Smaller Providers Will Benefit
Thanks to the changes in the SAU, smaller organisations should find the cost model more efficient when handling smaller numbers of total clients.
This comes at a good time, as customers and businesses alike are flocking away from the large incumbents and trusting their digital experience to smaller ISPs. Where the incumbents are often being criticised for their service standards and inflexibility, smaller players are able to offer the personalisation that customers are looking for across their IT environments.
Indeed, this is an opportunity for MSPs to engage even more deeply with their customers. There are several ISPs that provide reseller or wholesale nbn services to MSPs that can be white labelled, and leave the ownership of the customer for Internet services with the partner.
As businesses look to transform and embrace digital communications platforms and the cloud, MSPs that can establish themselves as having an “ISP” function will find it more affordable than ever to manage a relatively small number of customers compared to a true ISP.
With customers demonstrating that they’re more interested in quality of service and tailored solutions than price, the ACCC’s decision to adopt the SAU could result in MSPs embracing the ease with which they can add new services to the mix, and from there, a flourishing number of “micro-ISPs” building Internet connectivity into an overall managed services offering.