Concerns the NBN's failing to address business needs

Will the NBN deliver the right service for 2, 011, 770 businesses and their staff?

The federal opposition, telco analysts and industry players have signaled with varying degrees of caution that the level of services, options and pricing that Australian SOHO and SMEs will get out of the National Broadband Network is worryingly unclear.

The toughest criticism of Senator Conroy's RFP came from shadow communications minister Bruce Billson, who said Conroy's gag order has resulted in far too little discussion about what the NBN might deliver to consumers, including the 96 percent of Australia's 2, 011, 770 businesses that employ less than 20 people.

"For businesses, large and small, it is particularly difficult to anticipate what the NBN might offer. Likely new service offerings are often described in terms of file sharing, new entertainment offerings and more punch for current applications, with guesstimates on price and performance.

"This makes it extremely difficult for businesses to anticipate whether the business case for them will provide significant net benefits," Billson told Computerworld.

This was one of the reasons why the opposition launched a Senate Inquiry into the NBN RFP; to determine service availability, choice and costs; competition in services; and consequences for national productivity, investment, economic growth, cost of living and social capital for consumers, SOHOs and SMEs.

"It is unclear at this time whether the Rudd Government's approach to the NBN will enhance service, price and quality options for heavy data users or constrain them.

"Much depends on the yet-to-be-disclosed regulatory, competition and architectural arrangements that will accompany the NBN and so little is known about this, and [the federal] government's 'gag' orders are making open discussion about these factors even more difficult," he said.

Dr Paul Brooks of telco analyst Layer 10 Communications, said that most of the debate on the NBN so far has focused on residential broadband.

"In the business areas there hasn't really been a focus on what the NBN would bring for business users. The assumption seems to be that speeds people have postulated for [residential services] will be OK for business users," he said.

Large enterprises in metropolitan areas are currently well served by Fibre-to-the-Building, he said, but the potential needs of smaller businesses that do or are looking to deploy for example, IP or VPN type services, could miss out.

"It's the smaller businesses in residential areas -- people running businesses from home -- it's those organisations that may miss out on the wide variety of services that are typically offered to business customers... It will be interesting to see how the NBN network architecture deals with access to business services from homes," he said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Hendry

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?