NBN CEO Says Aussies Wouldn’t Use Superfast Internet Even If It Was Free

NBN CEO Says Aussies Wouldn’t Use Superfast Internet Even If It Was Free

And in today’s basket of “are you fucking kidding” news, I present NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow.

A solid majority of the country is waiting eagerly to get connected to the National Broadband Network, and with good reason: Australia’s internet sucks. But at the announcement of NBN Co’s half yearly results yesterday, NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow figured things weren’t too bad and that we didn’t really mind that much anyway.

When asked about the possibility of offering connection speeds of more than 100 megabits per second, Morrow reasoned that the demand wasn’t “that big” and the data from providers overseas showed consumers that had access to superfast speeds weren’t making the most of that capacity.

That’s perfectly understandable. And then Morrow, as reported by the Courier-Mail, said this.

“Even if we offered it for free, we see the evidence around the world that they wouldn’t use it anyway … we know there are things on the horizon that are going to increase the need for further demand.”

Understandably, people aren’t impressed.


According to iTnews, the NBN chief executive added that “roughly” 1.5 million Australian homes had the ability to receive a gigabit internet connection. “A couple of retailers have signed up to our trial base where they’re looking at what a 1Gbps service might look like but they have chosen not to offer it consumers … I presume there isn’t that big a demand out there for them to actually develop a product to sell to those end users.”

Again, that’s a wholly reasonable statement to make. But the premise that Aussies wouldn’t use superfast internet even if it was free?

Yeah, nah.


    • Come on mate. What would you even use it for? Internet is only for checking your online banking.

    • I’d take free fibre. Hell, I’d pay for fibre. And be using the shit out of it. Trouble is the bastards still aren’t offering it in my area yet

    • Ease off mate. Clearly he didn’t mean no one would use it – “they” would refer to average Aussie consumer. And he’s probably right. The average Aussie isn’t desperate for lag-free gaming, nor ultra-fast movie downloads. As long as Facebook loads and the Skype connection isn’t total balls then the average Aussie is happy. Why spend zillions of dollars to cater to the relative minority?

      But then again, I have the luxury of sitting here in NZ with my 100 megabits fibre connection. I can view things a little more objectively since I’m not waiting for my torrent to download at snail’s pace 😉

      • As an Aussie that saw Labors day was done and Abbott was going to rape the NBN the way he did and planned for it by building a new house on a street with FTTP on it and has never once downloaded a torrent using it and regularly gets upwards of 800GB of use out of my monthly connection, I’d say there are other uses for fast net than torrents. But what do I know, just anecdotal.

        • 800GB a month, and never downloaded a torrent? So you use usenet instead, like that’s really any different.

          • Nope. Sorry mate. Never used that either. 4k netflix, plenty of other legit streaming (Alpha, Geek and Sundry, youtube, twitch, crunchyroll etc). Admittedly 2 or 3 shows a week on free streaming sites but that’s gonna account for a couple of GB at best. 2 people with 2 PCs (250+ steam library, a dozen or so on Origin, a dozen or so on uplay, couple on GoG) and 2 X1s (around 200 games on the X1 that are digital, not disc) and a handful of ps4 games.
            Tbh i reckon it’s the legit video streaming mixed with the game downloads/updates.

        • Exactly. In this day and age of multi-gigabyte game patches and hell, outright online game purchases it’s not hard to envisage a legitimate use for gigabit speeds and terabyte download limits. Add that to legal streaming (audio and video), working from home, video chat and so on it’s pretty easy to see gigabit being desirable. And the problem just gets worse as you get more users, I dread to think what it’d be like for a family with several teens.

          I think the NBN idiot, I mean NBN Chief Exec, is misinterpreting data as well. It would not surprise me if lots of Aussies are using the cheapest, slowest version of NBN. But I believe for at least some (maybe even most) the key word there is “cheapest”. They’re looking at their monthly budget and saying “I can’t afford 100mbit” not “I don’t need 100mbit”.

          NBN Co should be looking at the reason *why* people don’t want the fastest speed. Not the other way round.

          • They are just with the wrong isps or in an area that doesnt get coverage by a lot of isps.
            Living in suburban Adelaide gives me resonable choice so I can get MyRepublics great deal 100/40 Unlimited for $60 per month. $15 a week. I’ll switch to them in 6 months when our 24 month contract with iiNet finishes. Only paying $40 ($100) more a month with iiNet but not happy with the service after they got bought by TPG.
            My mate in Mackay QLD can only get Telstra and 2 other choices pretty much. I’ve got around 40 choices last time I checked.

          • Sure and that’s a valid reason that NBN Co should be making note of. Lack of competition from ISPs.

            I’ll add too that even $60 a month is too expensive for some people. My retired Mum basically wants the cheapest possible plan, partly because she doesn’t need the speed/download but also because she’s on a pension. Another 40ish friend of mine wants a cheap plan because paying for a family is too expensive so he needs to save money where he can.

          • Yeah, i suppose some people would see $15 a week as too expensive. I’m paying for our connection and my mums at her place.

          • You are spot-on,with the benefits of hindsight moving to the NBN is the easiest way to a frustrating slow patchy connection and or a much larger BILLS. My cable service was very satisfactory, the Telcos just saw the NBN as an easy way to increase their profits. There needs to be a comprehensive enquiry in to who is doing who over it is a mess that needs to be investigated and put on the right track.

  • I was coming here to reiterate my views but I see you already included my tasteful, succinct tweet on the matter.

  • People wouldn’t use free internet? Insane

    Why the hell do they continue to put luddites like Bill in charge of future tech?!

  • Maybe they arent offeribg it to consumers because it would cost more than any normal user would be willing to pay for enough cvc capacity to not cripple the poi its available on

    • Yes. In fact, Alex even pointed that out at the end of the article.

      However, the point of contention is that the luddite in charge thinks that we wouldn’t use it, even if it was completely free.

  • NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow sounds like a dumb ass.
    I average 800GB usage per month and it would be higher but my internet is too slow

  • Last I heard the ISPs were complaining about the prices NBN made them pay because it was too high and then they can’t offer reasonable prices that the market expects. So where gigabit is possible I’d hazard a guess that the NBN is selling it for a damn high price that wouldn’t work in the market, hence ISPs don’t want to buy it from them.

    I’m starting to think that the politicians receive too much blame for the NBN though, with an idiot like that in charge.

  • NBN Co CEO: “Aussies Wouldn’t Use Superfast Internet Even If It Was Free”

    Australians: “BULLSH*T!”

  • I use 150-200GB a month. I probably wouldn’t use a lot more, to start with at least, but getting patches and updates, and nice low latency, and being able to watch movies without initial buffering times in the minutes would be nice.

  • I’ve always said that in Version 1.0 of the NBN, they shouldn’t have the lower speed tiers (now called NBN 12 and NBN 25)…and had 50 as the minimum and go from there

    Bill Morrow is just a Turnbull puppet….and a damn fool at that

  • So I pay $90/ month for a barely stable 2mbit ADSL connection, but WOULDN’T use a free 100mbit NBN connection? Apparently I like paying stupid amounts of money to not be able to reliably stream videos above 240p and end all my BF1 sessions with a lag-induced ragequit

    This incompetent sack of shit needs to be fired.

  • I’ve honestly never had a dream this realistic before. It actually feels like I’m typing a comment onto a kotaku article about the actual ceo of nbn saying that Australians don’t want fast internet.
    I must be on drugs to be dreaming this, surely.

  • NBN Co. the problem is customers want value and they dont understand the difference between entry level and highest speed NBN… they dont know why they should pay an extra $20-30 dollars a month. Value for money is key (which is why the free NBN comment is moronically blind)

    Give everyone on NBN a free upgrade month or two at the highest speed… then roll it back. Then those people will tell you with their wallets if the extra speed is worth it. You will see results.

    People want fast internet, but dont know what they want UNTIL you give it to them and then take it away. Seriously who are you marketing team if they think CGI graphics sell internet, rather than a test drive.

    Dont tell people what fast internet does… dont show them… let them experience it.

    With a free trail at max speed, Also include like a free month on Stan or Netflix and they can see high speed streaming first hand.

    • Dont tell people what fast internet does… dont show them… let them experience it.

      I did a brief stint years ago working in car sales. The same principle applied.

      “The feel of the wheel will seal the deal.”

    • Thing is even if everyone was on fttp on 100/50 connections people wouldn’t get that speed. The NBN is already plagued with congestion (which makes the NBN ceo’s comments an outright lie) and nothing is being done to fix it as no minimum standard guarantee is written in law.

      The nbn has the capacity but the businesses charges retailers for the extra capacity and since the retailers are interested in money first they aren’t purchasing the extra capacity when needed. So when your 100mbps connection you’re paying extra for is only a real world 6mbps connection – that’s your retailer not purchasing extra capacity.

      What we consumers really need is a minimum service guarantee to force retailers to buy the extra capacity when needed.

      • Who are you through? Is it your ISP or maybe the area you’re in that’s seeing massive congestion?

        6mbps on a 100mbps connection is pretty rubbish. I regularly see 80-90mbps speeds on mine. I might see a single slow download, but that’s the end server’s fault not my connection.

        • Well the Nbn peeps didnt keep to their install appointment so I’m with nobody.

          I’m relaying information of others experiences as well as explaining the business model where congestion can be artificial – the capacity is there but the RSP isn’t buying. It’s not a large issue atm because not many are connected but it is expected to become a problem as more switch to the nbn.

          This is different to current congestion issues as that’s largely (not entirely) infrastructure and hardware related. What I’m explaining is certain customers experiencing congestion solely because of the nbn’s business model of pricing throughput capacity and the retailer not purchasing more throughput capacity during peek times.

          There is no law or guarantee for minimum service hence the retailer (RSP as opposed to ISP) have no need to purchase extra throughput capacity.

          The issues of the business model have only just begun appearing now.

          • Ah, in that case don’t believe everything you hear. While there may be a few people getting terrible speeds due to congestion that’s certainly not the case for everyone.

            I do however, agree that there should be some form of guarantee on service and performance on the part of both the retailer and NBN. Which is a different and difficult situation. Even the best ISPs will not buy 1:1 capacity so even the best ISP has the potential to suffer from congestion. The problem of course being it’s not cost effective to buy 1:1 capacity.

            I am hoping we see some form of industry standard benchmark developed for service/performance in the near future. eg: 99% uptime, minimum speed guarantee of 90% for 90% of the time. Of course that sort of thing would have some caveats like required hardware, specific sites and so on.

  • No superfast Broadband as said by the NBN CEO You can’t be serious man.
    You should be delivering NBN speeds for the people across Australia to help people learn have fun how to stay in touch with the people we love even when we visit the GP seriously NBN CO continue delivering more Internet speeds because the project will be completed in 2021 since it’s still underway.

  • With my position at work I have to speak to people at NBN Co daily. It’s the most infuriating thing. Their systems are often down and incredibly inefficient — it takes hours to get an appointment for a technician booked to fix faults; and you better hope to God they have the right “Location ID” for you (hint: they probably don’t) or that they’ve provided Telstra with the Maintenance License (hint: they probably didn’t) or you’ll be waiting weeeeeeeeks to get anything fixed.
    Their retail/end-user teams aren’t separate, so they have dozens of ISPs calling them daily to get things moved along for their customers, but because their queues aren’t separate you’ll be waiting on hold sometimes for 45 minutes for something as simple as ‘yo where is the tech?!’. It’s incredibly frustrating.

    They also don’t have SLAs. Medical priority? TOO BAD LOL it’s fixed when it’s fixed and not a day sooner.

    If you aren’t getting NBN through Telstra, do yourself a favour and go to Telstra. If you encounter any problems it will take weeks instead of months to fix.

    • As someone who works for NBN I can tell you that there are SLAs in theory, however due to the massive backlog of repairs and escalations these are impossible to meet. It’s a shitstorm to say the least. In certain departments there are teams of only 10 people or less trying to deal with 500+ signal fault issues a day. Fun times.

  • It all comes back to NBN Co’s pricing model. CVC charges are astronomical ($12 month per megabit), so contention ratios at even 100\40 are astronomical, so no RSP can actually offer Gigabit connections without it costing an absolute bucket.

  • “A couple of retailers have signed up to our trial base where they’re looking at what a 1Gbps service might look like but they have chosen not to offer it consumers … I presume there isn’t that big a demand out there for them to actually develop a product to sell to those end users.”

    Probably because the retailers realise that they would quickly get flooded with requests and not be able to meet demand.

  • I’ll sound like a fun hater but the internet speed I have right now does me fine (30mb/s download 1mb/s upload). Websites already load up at the blink of an eye, the only benefit of faster speeds would be that downloads can finish <–> that much faster and strangely enough I can live with the speed it is now (depending on the server I am on, most downloads finish within seconds or minutes depending on how many mb/gb they are). I’ve resisted the temptation of a Telstra “speed boost” of 100mb/s (or up to 100mb/s as they say).

    • Honestly unless you’re downloading lots of data, you’ll never notice the difference. I have 100mbit cable through Telstra and it’s freaking amazing for downloading torrents (13mb/s+) but otherwise it’s just kind of like….why…this is unnecessary.. yaknow.

      • Well of course there’s no difference if you’re not using it – but there’s so many cases where it makes *plenty* of difference (beyond torrents) – and not just the download speeds; fast uploads are perhaps even more useful:

        * Steam/Origin game updates
        * Large driver downloads
        * Windows updates
        * Phone updates
        * Video streaming (particularly families)
        * Music downloads
        * Music *uploads* (photos too)
        * Online backups
        * Phone photo uploads
        * Video uploading
        * 1080p video chat
        * Game streaming
        * Google Earth map streaming (especially in VR)
        * Streamed web games (and VR)

        And those are just some common uses *today*. Wait until streamed VR and lightfields kick into gear, then gigabit is gonna be a bare minimum..

        • Video uploading is the real winner. Back when I had 4Mbps I had to limit myself to 30 second compressed clips because anything else would take hours. Haven’t tried on my new 100/40 connection but at least now it’s a possibility.

        • Sorry if I came off snobbish and elitist in my comment. With those other uses that you listed, yes of course faster internet would be beneficial. And I do remember how slow internet was in 2001-2004…. hell even before that when I was using dial up modems in the late 90’s when the images that pop up faster than a blink of an eye took minutes to appear haha.

    • I think you’d find the majority of people (in Aus) would agree, for pure personal use. There is a problem though, and I’m not having a go here purely explaining.

      Basically for single person households or households where it’s unlikely 2 people will be actively online simultaneously that download speed would suit a lot, for now. I believe it’s just over the minimum needed for 4k netflix? (someone correct me if I’m wrong I don’t have a 4k tv/monitor).

      Personally I have my own place and ended up grabbing that speed boost (Hate being with Telstra but only cable in town :/) because I’m a gamer and was sick of waiting ages to get through 40-60gb game downloads amongst other things (btw they say 100 but you often get higher, mine sits at about 120ish)

      However more and more people live in share houses nowdays thanks to housing prices, you always had families but now you have more and more 20/30 somethings where single rent or even dual shared rent is out of reach and even families that need to share the rent to get by.

      With that you need to multiply that 30 by the number of people in those households since most peoples peak usage times will be similar (after work/school) and not everyone wants to do the same thing as everyone else. So if one person wants to kick back and watch the latest marvel film on netflix while another wants to squirrel away in their room skyping with a friend and a third is jumping online for a few quick overwatch matches it can start to add up.

      Then you have the upload.. and 1mbps is a pain in the arse.. for pure web-browsing you probably won’t notice it no. But you can rule out ever getting any real use out of cloud services. You can forget any decent video chat quality and if you share a house with anyone they can forget even browsing online if someone else is chatting since the upsteam will be saturated. Anyone wanting to upload videos to youtube for personal or professional reasons are stuffed because it will take hours and you can completely forget about live-streaming, which is becoming a pretty big industry.

      Btw I came from FTTP to speed boosted cable where the only difference between those two connections was the upload speed…and losing that upload speed has been infuriating at times, either due to services I can’t use or others that assume you don’t have a crap up-steam and end up causing problems (forget to turn steam cloud off and find you’re locked out of a game for 10 minutes or longer while it uploads your saves after a crash…).

      One of the big touted early benefits of NBN was empowering tele-medicine which is crippled since I’ve got to imagine image clarity would be kind of important there. Granted you can get higher than 1mbps on FTTN although from what I understand it’s far from assured and nowhere near stable.

      Basically it all comes down to, yes its enough for a few today. But there’s a lot of very useful very profitable (or cost-cutting) things that can’t be done with the current speeds and demand for bandwidth is increasing exponentially over time so even those few may soon find it constricting. and it absolutely is stifling business in Australia (oh skipped education benefits too but yeah this is wayyyy too long already sorry)

      As I said at the start not having a go just offering explanation, this isn’t a thing everyone wants for fun (although to be fair there’s plenty of us here that do want the shiny toy) it’s a very important issue for the whole country that sadly hasn’t had the coverage it deserves 🙁

    • The speed boost that was offered for free… and you’ve resisted it? (I know it was for free, because I was offered it for free – its an opt in service)

      I think we know who the NBN CEO is talking about now…

      • I’m a little behind the times there, I didn’t change my modem over (from the Motorola SB5100 to the Gateway Telstra currently use) until September last year. If it was free at one point in time, I’m not going to pay an extra $20 just for slightly faster speeds (as said I’m comfortable with the current speed I have). The faster I can download things, the more I will download and I’ll run out of hard drive space faster… it’s a vicious cycle you know lol. I’m also still on a plan that expired quite a while ago that combined a few services into a low price (the bundles that have come along in the years since have not been as good, thus I’ve not switched bundles). While they’ve moved on to other bundles, they’ve kept me on the same old one. However as they’ve continued to phase out old structures they’ve moved me on to alternatives (eg: going from 10gb, to 12, to 50 and currently on 500gb for the month).

    • Thats great for you, but I’m willing to pay and upgrade my 100/40 Unlimited FTTP connection to 1000/400 the day it becomes available. Good for you being able to download whatever your downloading in seconds/minutes, but my downloads of games from Steam/Origin/Battle.net/XBL/PSN still take long enough for me to want and be willing to pay for the upgraded speed.

      Pity it’s not offered because of wankers like Bill though.

  • Words will not do justice.
    I will go back to my 2.4 meg connection and wait for NBN to even get to my area.
    How out of touch can you be?
    His circle jerk buddies all nod and he gets away with thinking he is correct.

  • WTF just WOW, try having a 500kb download speed shared with your whole family.sometimes i cant even open google. and then right across the street they have NBN. here i am patiently waiting for that day when these NBN people do thier jobs and roll out the NBN and thier CEO is a complete idiot, how can there be demand when you havent even supplied it WTF.

  • Was the CEO’s voice shaking as he made this announcement? I am guessing that it was because he must have been wanking with both hands at the time. How out of touch can he be to believe that codswallop.
    I am 73yrs old, a non gamer and would still pay full price to have the fastest possible speeds for updates and downloads.
    In fact I did purchase the quickest package possible from my ISP but because I am 1.8kms (900mtrs as the crow flies) from the closest node I get ADSL2 speeds instead of the promised NBN improvement. Luckily my ISP did not try to rip me off and now, because of the available speeds, I am on the lowest and cheapest rung of their packages. My ISP would gladly sell me, and I would gladly buy the top speed but because of idots like this CEO and FTTN proponents we both lose out.

  • The moment I stepped foot back into Australia, I missed Singaporean Internet for their [even at base tier, it was 10 times faster] speeds.

    I have no clue how he would think that anyone in my situation would think it was false.
    I miss HD YouTube/Netflix that didn’t have the whole neighbourhood screaming at you.

  • I can’t even smoothly stream 720p youtube videos on Telstra Cable! Damn we have some shit internet, I remember being gobsmacked by 150kb/s speeds in high school.

  • I feel like it must have gone down like this.

    Provider: We offer this service for [outrageous price] and no one really seems to want it

    NBN fuckwit: Oh well, must mean they don’t want it, y’know. Thus, my conclusion is that even if we offered it for free they wouldn’t take it.

    There is no way he actually thinks that, there is no way he is actually that dumb. He’s using weird circular logic to blame other people for not offering good services, he’d rather take huge salary bonuses than actually spent money on bringing Australia internet services into modern times.

  • The CEO of telstra is probably the reason they are fucking up so bad, aussies want better speeds, we need better speeds? who is this dumb cunt to assume we would not use it? seriously? if he knew what aussie people thought of telstra he would be ashamed, i would definitely give this bloke a word of 2 in private if i saw him, “By that I mean a smack around the Head”

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