The NBN may charge a “Netflix Tax” – you’re kidding me right?

Can you believe NBN Co is thinking of charging customers extra for using the connection they are already paying for if they want to stream video content through Netflix or Stan?

I looked at the calendar and was shocked when I saw it wasn’t April 1.

NBN is understood to be floating this “Netflix Tax” to its retail service providers in a proposal and trying to take their temperature to see whether they’d support such a move.

That section apparently read something like this: “Would your organisation support the development of a price response whereby charging of streaming video could be differentiated from the charging of other traffic/services?

“Would your organisation be likely to productise such a mechanism if developed by NBN.”

Are you kidding me?

A $51bn network that would charge you extra to stream content?

It was our understanding they wanted to build the network of the future.

Stranger Things

Take away streaming content for a moment. This is only something we’ve been doing for the past four or five years.

The internet we had pre-Netflix worked just fine.

So now that we’ve spent all this money to supposedly make the internet better and faster – they now want to charge customers even more for the way they use that connection.

Just typing out that last sentence sounded ridiculous let alone putting it in a proposal to the most popular retail providers in the country.

Could you imagine a telco asking a customer who already pays good money to access their cellular network and use a certain amount of monthly data, for even more money because they want to stream video instead of just browsing and accessing Facebook and Instagram.

Customers would march on their offices before dropping them like a bad habit.

Our internet connection, like our other devices, has improved over time.

It’s called progress and, in the case of the NBN, it came with a $51bn price tag.

And as a result what we do with that connection changes as well.

Netflix became possible because our broadband connections – even most pre-NBN connections – could handle it.

And now they want to charge us extra for that. I don’t think so.

Other countries are already laughing at the NBN – this move would just make it an even bigger punch line.

If this proposal goes ahead and the Netflix Tax is adopted then your NBN service will cost a lot more per month.

Perhaps the NBN should go back to some areas and make the network better.

But where do you draw the line? Will YouTube be attract a usage tax? That’s streaming video content as well.

The Crown
(L to R) Elizabeth, Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II formally makes Philip a British Prince

What about the upcoming services like Disney+ and Apple TV+?

How do you think Apple would react if they knew their Australian viewers had to pay even more money to the NBN on top of their monthly fee for the service.

The banks tried to do the same thing to Apple when Apple Pay was introduced.

Three of the  four big three banks tried to gang up on Apple and, at one point, the banks even suggested customers should a few cents extra to use the service.

Apple’s response was “we’ll see about that”.

Today three of the four banks now offer Apple Pay to their customers at no extra cost.

There will be a similar backlash if the NBN provides a connection and then charges you extra based on how you use that connection.

One of the NBN’s concerns, and the motivation behind this inane proposal is the fact that when everyone is streaming content, the bandwidth takes a hit and our connection performance drops.

Like we said – pre-Netflix and pre-NBN – the internet worked.

Are you telling me that even after spending $55bn to dig up the whole country to create the National Broadband Network it can’t serve up a service that’s good enough to not have to ask for even more money to watch Adam Sandler’s latest movie on Netflix.

Or is this just a way to justify a price gouge?


Are they creating a reason to charge customers extra?

What’s next social media tax? Monitoring your smart camera tax? Answering your Ring Doorbell tax?

What about making FaceTime and Skype video calls tax?

The result of this action could drive people to take up 5G home broadband services instead of the NBN. Telstra and Optus are already making good progress with their respective 5G networks.

Optus is already offering customers within its 5G footprint $70 as month unlimited data plans with a minimum speed guarantee of 5oMbps.

This move by the NBN might drive more customers in to the 5G telcos arms.

This NBN  proposal has already opened a can of worms on the mere suggestion of a Netflix Tax.

Imagine the outrage if they actually go ahead with it.