Just before the 2010 federal election, NBN Co boss Mike Quigley announced that the National Broadband Network would deliver speeds of 1Gbps. This week that speed threshold was given a timeframe of December this year, just a week after the opposition outlined its NBN plans.
By the end of the year, NBN customers will be able to opt for a 1Gbps service, which combines 1Gbps download speeds with 400Mbps upload speeds.
Of course, the cost of such a service might be a bit out of reach for many of the geeks wanting super fast speed, which is why NBN Co is also introducing 250Mbps and 500Mbps speed tiers (with 100Mbps and 200Mbps upload speeds respectively).
The price for speed
While no ISPs have given any indication of what a plan on a gigabit connection will cost, NBN Co has provided the wholesale cost of each plan.
For the full gigabit speed, NBN Co will be charging ISPs $150 per connection per month. For the 250Mbps and 500Mbps plans, ISPs can expect to pay $70 and $100 a month respectively.
As an indication, iiNet charges $50 a month for the entry level 12/1Mbps plan, which it pays NBN Co $24 a month to access per customer. For the 25/5Mbps plan, wholesale costs $27 a month while ISPs are charging $55 a month. 50/20 wholesales at $34 a month compared with $65 retail, and the 100/40 Mbps plans cost ISPs $38 a month, while they charge $70 a month.
It's worth noting that those iiNet prices are all for the cheapest plans, including 40GB of data. Prices naturally go up the more data consumed.
In the end, the gigabit speeds are probably going to be best suited to small business rather than personal customers, but it's still relieving to know that those with access to the NBN whould get access to world-class speeds this year, even if the rest of the country is left in political limbo.