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Vodafone nbn

Vodafone's fixed broadband play

Vodafone has called for expressions of interest from customers wanting an alternative to the current NBN Retail Service Providers (RSPs) as it prepares to enter the fixed broadband market.

As the most recent report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the NBN market showed, four RSPs currently account for some 94% of all wholesale services purchased from nbn, so the pickings available to Vodafone would seem to be lean indeed.

But according to Vodafone, there are many dissatisfied customers out there and the company is clearly hoping that a targeted approach could produce results.

According to Vodafone Managing Director of Fixed Networks, Mathew Lobb, “many consumers have told us that they are unhappy with their existing fixed broadband provider. They are frustrated by the poor connection experience, confused about their options, and when things go wrong they feel they are left in the lurch.”

Well yes, but whether Vodafone, a newcomer to the local wireline world despite operating for nearly 25 years in the Australian market, can do better than the current RSPs is surely a moot point.

The fact is that many of the problems currently being experienced by NBN-based customers spring from the nature of the project itself – from structural separation which decouples service providers from the infrastructure owner (whose fault is the fault?); from lack of forward planning and training in relation to labour supply (“poor connection experience”) and from poor levels of community understanding about what the (near) monopoly model means for them (“confused about the options”).

A recent survey, for instance, revealed that 8 years after the project was launched over half of those questioned did not understand that they would have to switch to the NBN if they wanted a fixed wireline service!

How many of these will turn to Vodafone as their hour of need approaches remains to be seen.

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