Currently Australia’s internet service is provided predominantly by 81 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) according to ABS Statistics dated 5 October 2012. Only 8 of these are classified as “very large”, having more than 100,000 subscribers.
The NBN opens the door for new players to compete with telcos, said Commissioner Edward Willett of the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission (ACCC). The big competitive threat for telcos is going to be the players like Google and Apple, he said.
Another possible entrant would be Foxtel, who would be able to provide Internet TV (IPTV) over the NBN without having to provide costly cables or Satellite dishes. This has already been seen as a threat by iiNet, who recently expressing concerns to the ACCC saying that the deal would restrict competition in the emerging IPTV market.
Other possible entrants that have been mentioned would be banks, retailers or sport controlling bodies. To provide a full nation wide coverage will still not be cheap, even though such coverage can be obtained without the need to invest in expensive network infrastructure. However, for more modest, focussed subscriber targets, a company now only have to connect to a small number (eg 1) of the 121 Points of Interconnect provided by the NBN. The expectation that this will lead to many new small ISPs seems quite realistic.
A spokesman for the AFL did not deny it had spoken to NBN Co, but refused to discuss the matter. However, the football code has already shown its interest in the NBN’s capacity to fundamentally reconfigure the economics of sport and traditional media.
The winners in all cases mentioned above would be the end users who would have many more choices for getting their internet services. The internet NTU device in every NBN subscriber’s home provides 6 ports, each able to connect to a different provider. Two of these ports are for telephone services and four for data services.