NBN Co has reinstated its COVID-19 relief credits for retail service providers (RSPs) amid the ongoing lockdowns in parts of Australia.
The relief credits, in the form of CVC discounts, were brought back after some top RSPs had been publicly calling on the network provider to do so, as reported by CRN sibling site iTnews.
NBN Co said the credit relief will cost a total of $5.2 million to support the provision of additional data to meet increased customer demand for broadband services.
“NBN Co acknowledges that customer data demand has incrementally increased as more states have gone into lockdown. However, the additional capacity required to accommodate these increases have been partly accommodated by NBN Co’s introduction of National Pooling of Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC), the additional capacity inclusions in May 2021 and the Focus on Fast campaign,” NBN Co executive general manager commercial Ken Walliss said.
“The credit payment, which will be made on a proportional basis to eligible retailers, is designed to reduce retailers’ additional wholesale data overage costs brought on by the incremental increase in usage during the peak evening entertainment hours and to help to ensure they do not fall short of their customers’ data demands during lockdown.”
NBN Co first offered the COVID-19 relief credits at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, providing up to 40 percent extra bandwidth at no extra cost to RSPs. The offer lasted until 31 January 2021.
The program will officially commence from 3 August 2021 to cover the month of July, and the credits will be allocated according to each retailer’s share of Industry Total National Overage, which represents the additional capacity purchased over and above the total included capacity for wholesale bundle discount speed tiers.
The network provider will also launch a SuperFast Plus rebate offer next month to retailers to help them support customers needing higher speed plans.
“NBN Co’s previous offer of additional capacity at no additional costs to internet retailers, which was in market from March 2020 and transitioned out by 31 January 2021 was originally intended as a short-term measure to assist retailers’ adjustment to the initial increase in customers’ data consumption at the onset of COVID restrictions,” Walliss added.
“It was the right thing to do at the time, but it came at a cost, some of which was borne by taxpayers. If this had continued, it would have potentially impacted NBN Co’s ability to invest in network upgrades to deliver faster speeds and additional capacity to meet the historical annual growth in data demand.
“We recognise the importance retailers place on minimising overage costs and we are exploring how we can continue to support the industry and customers. We are discussing this further with retailers as part of the current ongoing pricing and Special Access Undertaking consultations.”