Aussie Broadband has been around for a while – for more than 20 years of operation now, in fact.
In that time, the company has risen to be one of the most popular ISPs in the country, tailgating the likes of Optus, TPG and particularly Telstra, an ISP that has definitely felt the Aussie Broadband burn.
If you spoke to a loyal customer, you’d probably hear them say that the cost is worth it for the customer support on offer. I, personally, completely agree, having been a customer twice in the past.
Back in its early years, the company specialised in satellite access and fixed wireless networks up until it became an Australia-wide NBN reseller in 2013, establishing its NBN backhaul network in 2016. The company, as we know it, was born out of a merger in 2008 between Wideband Networks and Westvic Broadband.
“If the market was operating properly and looking after its customers, then businesses like Aussie just wouldn’t exist,” Aussie Broadband founder and CEO Phil Britt told Gizmodo Australia. “I’ve said many times before that Aussie should not have been able to do what it did.”
Britt said that, in the past 20 years of operation, up until it was listed on the ASX in 2020, he had almost gone broke five times. He claimed that it was because Aussie Broadband tries to put everything it can back into the business.
Today, Aussie Broadband is the fourth-biggest NBN provider in the country, also offering phone plans and private fibre plans. Britt said that there are some 750,000 customers on its NBN network today, with the biggest challenge being keeping those high expectations for customer support met. After all, how often have you come across an NBN provider known for how well its call centres and help desk treat its customers?
“I can usually tell how well things are going by whether I’m getting any complaints into my email or not, and I would be lucky if I had one complaint in months come directly to me, sort of thing, and I know if I start to get two or three per month that maybe something’s not quite right here,” Britt added. “I’m quite sure that other telcos, their CEOS see a lot more than that coming to them. I know one of the big telcos – the CEO has their own private complaints team to deal with the stuff that comes that way, so I use that as my litmus test.”
Britt describes a “secret sauce” to Aussie Broadband’s customer service and support. He said that, unlike many other companies, the 730-people strong customer support teams aren’t measured on call times or similar metrics – and are instead measured on customer satisfaction.
“You’re not dealing with someone that’s following a script – there’s actually no scripts in our call centre, so the team, I guess, are trained well, are able to engage at the right level, and not have to work through a pre-defined path to get to the source of the problem and then solve it from there,” Britt said.
Despite having an independent board and being ASX-listed, Britt said that there’s a consensus among Aussie Broadband stakeholders “that we don’t mess with the secret sauce.”
So, what’s next for the internet provider? It’s grown larger than most of its competitors in the country, and there’s only so much that can be done in the consumer-oriented connectivity space.
Aussie Broadband is now turning to business, enterprise, and government contracts as it attempts to grow the business, along with its wholesale business now that it has acquired software company Symbio.
“That gives us more funds to reinvest into all parts of the business,” Britt added.
“It’s completely different [to deal with business, enterprise, and government customers] to be honest, you’re dealing with a customer that has a much higher level of expectation, particularly around service and support, and also the downtime of services that have more complex needs, more complex security requirements.”
To temper your expectations a bit, Aussie Broadband didn’t have anything to announce at the moment on working with SpaceX on Starlink packages like its larger competitors announced earlier this year – but Britt did say Aussie was looking into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) solutions.
“There’s certainly a need for that sort of stuff, but we haven’t settled on any particular pathway yet,” Britt said.
Happy birthday Aussie Broadband.
Image: Aussie Broadband
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