For what it's worth 25% of people who are in the Armidale, Kiama and Willunga trial areas immediately (within 48 hours of the email advice being sent to them) responded that they wished to take part in the NBNCo trial. If you were to assume that the 'average' positive response to such email advices is typically around 5% then you could conclude that the end user's view of the NBNCo offering is five times more enthusiastic. Allowing for the fact it's free probably lowers that assessment but nevertheless, and allowing for some further take up due to people not actually receiving that email yet, I would have expected a higher take up. We will arrange to call the non-takers over the next few days to determine whether they actually received the email and why they weren't interested in a trial connection. Perhaps the fact that there are a high percentage of students in Armidale renting premises accounted for the solitary positive response in that area as an example.
So.....while it's far too early to make any sort of 'judgement' on what percentage of users, while they have a choice, will take up the fibre service I think I would be less happy rather than more happy if I was the Labor government. Not 'concerned' (and certainly not "alarmed") but somewhat disappointed. I think one 'straw' was this press release yesterday:
I think it gives some sort of view of the level of anxiety in the government and the DBDCE that a small company like Exetel can quietly post some information on its web site (no press releases/no marketing activity of any kind) that affects a few hundred people and have that become a source of government vindication a day or so later. To have the Exetel pricing juxtaposed to the stupid Internode pricing so brutally was also very interesting (a significant benefit for Exetel and a devastating 'swipe' at Internode who apparently fail to see the difference between commercial activities and political trickery). I only cite the press release in the context of the apparent desperation to find 'good news' in the 'NBN2' adventure and what a strange source was used to find that sort of comfort.
Exetel will, of course, follow the installation ease/difficulties and time frames of the fiber installations with great interest as we will the views of our customers who are undertaking the trial. We expect no problems in either of these aspects of the NBNCo performance as the network connections used will be totally 'empty' during the trial period and maximum speeds will be obtained. The 'litmus test' will be to see how many trialists sign up for a post trial connection and the how many of other ISP's customers in the trial areas sign up to Exetel.
So - now it begins...just how will the 'NBN2' be accepted as it gradually becomes available to more potential users and before those users are faced with no choice? A much clearer 'picture' will emerge between now and Christmas.