MyRepublic will launch in Australia Nov. 15.
Image: Getty Images

It’s unusual to get emotional about broadband internet, but MyRepublic CEO Malcolm Rodrigues is a rare creature.

His startup, the Singaporean internet provider MyRepublic, has finally set a date for its Australian launch. From Nov. 15, the company will offer just one plan: Unlimited data for A$59.99 per month, at whatever the fastest national broadband network (NBN) speed is available to that home or business.

Rodrigues first flagged MyRepublic’s local arrival in Aug. 2015, when he fired shots at Australia’s NBN, saying the government had “completely stuffed it.”

He criticised the decision to roll out fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) rather than fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology to Fairfax Media, suggesting that FTTN and other cost-saving measures of the national broadband project were “sh*t.”

Nicholas Demos, managing director at MyRepublic Australia, has a similarly low opinion of the offerings of Australia’s existing telecommunication companies on the NBN.

“What the incumbents have done is they’ve just taken their existing products and said it’s ‘NBN ready,'” he told Mashable, accusing rivals of confusing consumers with tiered speed offerings.

“They haven’t really specifically designed a product for the NBN.”

Malcolm Rodrigues and Nicolas Demos.

MyRepublic, on the other hand, was born and bred on broadband networks. It launched in 2011, eager to take advantage of Singapore’s own NBN. It also offers services in New Zealand and Indonesia.

“We’ll be offering customers an unlimited broadband network, at the best speed they can get on the NBN,” Demos said. “If you’re FTTP and can get up to 100 [megabits per second], we’ll give you 100. If you’re FTTN and you can get 50 [Mbps], you’ll get 50.

“Any of the markets we’ve been in, be it Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand, we’ve always championed speed.”

MyRepublic’s message may find some traction: A recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) report indicated the majority of NBN customers so far were on 25/5 Mbps, despite the network’s capacity.

As of Oct. 27, almost a million and a half Australian premises are active on the NBN.

“Any of the markets we’ve been in, be it Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand, we’ve always championed speed.”

Downplaying the scale of the startup’s local ambitions, Rodrigues explained that MyRepublic would probably need about one percent marketshare to break even in Australia.

In Singapore, he said they’re moving towards a 10-12 percent marketshare, while in New Zealand, he suggested a 5 percent marketshare was “coming into view.”

It will have new rivals locally: Vodafone, which previously only offered mobile services in Australia, announced plans in October to use the NBN to offer broadband internet to homes and offices.

Unlike the local incumbents, Rodrigues said MyRepublic operates like a lean startup and plans to keep that attitude. “If we were coming in and had a plan for 30 or 40 percent marketshare, I would be a little bit more uncomfortable,” he said. “But the reality is, we’ve got a modest approach.”

But back to those broadband emotions: The NBN of Singapore gave birth to MyRepublic and it’s been transformational, Rodrigues said, so he was stunned when he looked at Australia’s situation.

“We were planning on entering Australia two years ago, and when we looked at it, we couldn’t believe how messed up it was,” he said.

“You’re trying to build an infrastructure that will transform a nation, and you compromise and settle on an infrastructure that’s no different than what existed before, except you spent billions of dollars. It just seemed ridiculous.”

Since then, he believes the NBN has “got its act together” and it’s time to get started.

“We believe everyone in Australia should have a 1 [Gbps or billions of bits per second] service. We can’t do it yet, it’s not there. But let’s not give any less than we can.”

As part of its Australian push, MyRepublic will have a presence at the PAX Gaming conference in Melbourne from Friday. Attendees can pre-register for a specific gaming offering, the MyRepublic GAMER PS4 Pro fibre broadband bundle.

A NBN spokesperson told Mashable it welcomed MyRepublic’s entry into Australia.

“There are a range of options available over the NBN network which provides consumers the opportunity to pick a plan from their service provider at the speed tier and price point which suits their needs,” he said.

“Depending on where you live and if your area is NBN ready, there could be more than 40 internet providers in Australia to choose from.”

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