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NBN's push for 50Mbps speeds a 'political play': MyRepublic

NBN is cutting prices to get more people onto higher speed plans, but ISP MyRepublic says there's one key reason why NBN is focusing on 50Mbps.

NBN might have cut its prices to encourage more Australians to take up faster broadband, but not everyone is convinced.

MyRepublic -- the self-styled "disruptor" of Australian internet service providers -- has called out NBN, saying the push to get Australians onto the 50Mbps speed tier is "not enough," and that the push is being made for political reasons.

NBN today announced that it would cut the wholesale price it charges to ISPs to get their customers connected to the National Broadband Network. The company says more than 80 percent of Australians are on download speeds of 25Mbps or less and, as a result, they're not getting the most out of the network.

"We would like to see the NBN 50 [Mbps] plan become the 'new normal,'" Bill Morrow said of the pricing shakeup.

But the managing director of MyRepublic Australia, Nicholas Demos, says while the push to get Australians onto higher speed tiers is a good thing, "it's disappointing to see 50Mbps per second as the hero product."

"It's just a political play," Demos told CNET. "It's only because the majority of the network can get 50Mbps because we have this multi technology mix rollout. The only reason they're not pushing 100Mbps is because only a certain percentage of customers can get that number.

"They don't want to go out there and champion something that not everyone can get because of the mixed technology."

The limitations of NBN's multi-technology mix have been in the spotlight recently, with the ACCC cracking down on both Telstra and Optus for selling speeds to customers that their connections couldn't support. According to the ACCC, the "technical limitations" of fibre to the node meant that thousands of Telstra and Optus customers could never receive 100Mbps (and many of those were not even seeing speeds of 50Mbps).

For his part, Demos says NBN's focus on increased speeds isn't all bad.

"It's great to see this conversation is shifting to speed ... it's great to see [Bill Morrow] acknowledge today that 25Mbps and below is not where we want to be."

But as for the future? Demos says MyRepublic will keep pushing to get more Australians using higher speeds.

With company CEO Malcolm Rodrigues flying into Australia last week for MyRepublic's first anniversary in Australia, the company says it's still pushing hard to keep the conversation around fibre and speeds. They've even pulled one of the former architects of New Zealand's full fibre broadband network in to help lobby the government on this front. 

And here you thought the debate around the NBN was over. 

NBN has been contacted for comment.

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