SME: where the broadband action is

The small and medium business sector holds a wealth of opportunity for broadband resellers, according to Rosemary Sinclair, managing director of the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG).

Speaking at Request Broadband's annual partner conference, Sinclair likened the current broadband market to the early days of mobile telephones.

While Australia still lagged behind in terms of broadband adoption, the industry was now seeing more mass market takeup as business overcame the service problems that plagued broadband in its early days, she said.

“That Australia rates low (in broadband adoption) ought to be good news for Request and its channel partners,” she told delegates at the conference. Sinclair singled out the small to medium enterprise (SME) market as an area of opportunity for service providers.

“Really the action is in the SME sector,” she said. “We are finding that people see communications and IT as critical to their success.”

ATUG research has found that SMEs typically spend five per cent of their total operating expenditure on IT, versus 6-10 per cent for larger businesses. However, broadband connectivity would add another dimension to the importance of IT, Sinclair said.

“Their most important services are the phone, fax, computers and the mobile, but we are starting to see them also mention broadband.”

While the ability to focus on customer service would provide the real opportunities for Request Broadband resellers, Sinclair also warned delegates it would not all be smooth sailing.

“The relationship is terribly important,” she said. “It will take focus, but the rewards are there.”

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