Primus and iiNet both claim first NBN customers

Perth-based ISP iiNet says it has signed up the first customers to the National Broadband Network in Tasmania, where the first stages of the new infrastructure are set to be “switched on” next month.

But despite the company saying it has signed up the first customers to the network, rival telco Primus announced its plans several weeks ago and says it made its first sale on the network on May 19.

General manager of marketing and products at Primus, Andrew Sims, says “as far as we can tell, we had the first customer on the network”.

“We had our first sale on May 19, which was just after the release went out. From what we can see, we had the first customer. But we don’t have any hard evidence iiNet haven’t signed up a customer before that date.”

But iiNet said in its own statement it was the first to sign up customers.

The company said in a statement the network is the most significant reform to the telco sector in decades, and as a result, faster and better services can be offered to customers. The new services will be ready as soon as the Tasmanian NBN Co is ready to “flick the switch”, the company said.

Residents in the areas of Midway Point, Port Smithton and Scottsdale will be the first to have the opportunity to join up to iiNet’s service offerings.

More locations, along with certain areas on the mainland, will be connected to the trial network over the coming months.

Plans for NBN customers start as low as $49.95 per month for 10GB of data, and range up to $159 for 180GB, split between peak and off-peak times. However, the cheaper plans only allow speeds of up to 25mbps, not the full 100mpbs the network allows.

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Additionally, residents in those areas who sign up before September 30 will be able to waive set up costs if they sign up to a 24-month agreement, including the process of wiring the network to the home which the company says could cost about $180.

Chief executive Michael Malone said the company has been working with NBN Co and Tasmania NBN Co to make sure the transition to retail offerings will be “seamless”.

Additionally, he said customers have already signed up ahead of a marketing campaign which will see the company distribute envelopes in mailboxes.

Along with plans for data, iiNet says customers will also be able to take advantage of a number of other different deals with plans including the addition of telephone services, and the upcoming FetchTV IPTV product.

“The NBN is the future of broadband in Australia and as the nation’s leading innovative
Internet Service Provider (ISP) it’s fitting that we signed up the first customers,” Malone said.

However, the comments come just a few weeks after Primus announced its own pricing details, with plans starting from as low as $39.95. At the time, chief executive Ravi Bhatia said the company was formally launching its services.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first ISPs to provide state-of-the-art communications in Tasmania through the NBN.”

“We’re particularly excited that our customers will have access to a wide range of new capabilities and advanced services using this new generation high-speed fibre to the home (FTTH) network. This is a key milestone in Australian communications history and we are proud to be part of it.”

iiNet was contacted for comment, but no reply was received before publication.

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