Quicker NBN switch plan welcomed by peak business group

Joe Townsend.

Joe Townsend.

A REGIONAL business spokesman has welcomed a plan to make signing up to the NBN quicker, easier and more worthwhile.

NSW Business Chamber regional manager Joe Townsend said it was “good to see” NBN Co this week announce work to improve businesses’ connection, migration and service experience.

His comments came after a NSW Chamber survey of 850 business showed delays and disruptions in the NBN rollout were costing them $9000-plus on average.

“We called for more to be done to improve the experience and level of service provided to businesses connecting to the NBN, and it’s good to see that NBN Co has heeded that call,” Mr Townsend said.

“As Tamworth currently connects to NBN services, the changes to improve wait times for business connections, resolve problems more quickly, and the development of dedicated case management for complex and multi-site migrations are very welcomed.”

NBN Co’s initiatives for small and medium businesses include better connection and resolution process; a program to train and accredit business customers’ technology providers and local consultants; and tailored pricing.

Mr Townsend said “education is a critical element” as well.

“For example, sometimes it is not sufficiently communicated to businesses that existing services can be retained while NBN connection is being finalised,” he said.

“This will help businesses understand what business critical services (such as EFTPOS terminals) will need to be upgraded to work with the NBN.”

Connection guide

Mr Townsend said the NSW Business Chamber’s five-point connection guide remained relevant:

  • Find the right retail service provider
  • You’ve got 18 months to sign up; take your time and talk to your provider
  • Confirm that your premises has permission from the property owner
  • Protect your business by keeping your current service on
  • Check your equipment is NBN-ready.

“If your business is connected to the NBN and not receiving their desired speed, we encourage you to contact NSW Business Chamber on 13 26 96 or the Communications Ombudsman,” he said.

The NBN Co plan

According to an NBN Co media release, its initiatives for small and medium businesses include:

  • Improved connection and resolution process – wait times for business connections are set to be reduced and rescheduled appointments and complex orders will be prioritised and case managed by NBN Co and the phone and internet provider.
  • Industry engagement – a new partner program targeted at the ICT industry which will offer training and accreditation for technology providers and local consultants to educate business customers about what they need to do to connect to the new network as well as information on applications which can support their business over fast broadband.
  • Tailored pricing – increased flexibility on NBN Co’s wholesale business products with a new capped pricing model set to enable service providers to save on monthly wholesale charges and increase competition in the market.
  • Business education campaign – a new integrated communications program launched from November to educate Australian businesses on how to connect and the impact of the NBN access network on important business services.
  • Regional business boost – introduction of fixed wireless and satellite enterprise products on NBN Co’s world-leading rural broadband network to be launched in 2018 with the aim of helping regional businesses increase efficiencies and access new markets.