As the National Broadband Network starts operating in Australia, small business owners may be interested to find out more about what this service is, how it may affect them and how they can get started.
What is the NBN?
In April 2009, the Australian government announced plans to create an organisation that would build and manage the new superfast National Broadband Network. The plan included a budget of $43 billion that would cover 93 per cent of the country’s businesses, homes and schools with high-speed Internet of up to 100 megabits per second. This speed will be available in towns of approximately 1,000 people or more, whereas smaller areas will have access to satellite and wireless services at a slower rate.
Prior to the NBN, the infrastructure was slower, using copper wires instead of the new optical fibre.
As the NBN comes into fruition, a range of technologies will be used to cover the country, with each area assessed and fitted with the most appropriate service.
The end goal is to offer Australian homes and businesses reliable, affordable and superfast broadband Internet through a variety of providers.
What are the benefits of the NBN for SMEs?
One of the quickest benefits small businesses may see is lower costs. The major investment into this system aims to bring about a stronger economy, part of which may happen by helping cash-strapped SMEs with smaller bills.
Another benefit of high-speed broadband is to improve productivity. It may mean employees can work more quickly and reliably without waiting on patchy connections, it could mean hiring staff in remote locations, and it could give employees the chance to work from home either when they can’t be in the office or simply as a perk of the job.
Naturally, greater connectivity may mean greater opportunities in a number of areas for SMEs. Businesses will likely be better equipped to talk directly to their customers, or they may find they can access more locations and share their brand through more channels. Team members will be better able to collaborate from wherever they are for faster, easier and more reliable sharing of ideas, resources and work.
Plus, the installation of the NBN may give Australian businesses a competitive advantage over those in countries that don’t yet have access to such technology.
Are there any downsides to the NBN?
The main downside of the NBN is the fact that implanting such a major infrastructural change across such a large country will not be quick. Currently, the suburbs of Emu Plains in New South Wales and Redcliffe, Slacks Creek and Merrimac in Queensland are being trialed for an early roll out in an attempt to speed up this process.
How do I join the NBN?
If you’d like to find out if the NBN is available in your area yet, you can visit the NBN website and check your address. There, you can type in your address, find out if there are any steps you need to take to prepare for the service, then decide on one of the providers available to get started.
Image source: NBN Co Media Centre