TPG Is Still Building Its Own Competitor To The NBN

The National Broadband Network is facing renewed competition, in the cities where it should theoretically be making the most money. TPG will continue to build out its potentially lucrative fibre-to-the-basement metropolitan broadband network, and might even start to offer access to it through its new acquisiton iiNet. Soon enough, you might buy an iiNet service for your apartment and be getting NBN-like speeds, despite being connected to TPG’s own fibre.

Fibre optic image via Shutterstock

Speaking to Fairfax Media, reclusive TPG boss David Teoh said that the company was still pushing forward with the build-out of its own NBN-style fibre optic network, which it delivers primarily to large apartment blocks around the country to sell a high-speed “fibre to the basement” service that competes directly with the government-backed National Broadband Network. It might even begin selling access to the network through its large suite of retailers, including the recently acquired iiNet.

TPG already owns an extensive fibre-based backhaul network — the company calls it “[its] own information super-highway“, and it’s the third largest metro fibre optic setup in Australia. After acquiring iiNet it became the second largest telco in the country, second only to Telstra — like the NBN, a company that has significant government investment and that was originally created from the government-owned Telecom. That potential is allowing TPG subsidiaries like iiNet to offer significantly cheaper internet plans with more data; iiNet’s most recent development was to offer 1TB of data per month for $49.95 $69.99 [updated], a big departure from its previously premium pricing standards.

TPG’s continued push is, in a way, a threat to the NBN; taking those FTTB NBN customers — who would normally be paying standardised NBN rates for access to the national broadband network, but requiring relatively less installation work from NBN’s construction partners due to the highly concentrated nature of apartments — would deprive the government-backed company of the lucrative in-city connections that contribute to paying for the less profitable connections of rural and bush users — who TPG will not service. The work on TPG’s 4G network, which could compliment FTTB, continues.


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