Last week, Delimiter argued that by and large, the business plans released so far on the National Broadband Network were little more than more expensive versions of consumer plans, with providers virtually ignoring the kind of value-added features that businesses want and the NBN’s improved underlying service delivery making features such as better support unnecessary. NBN Co head of Product Development and Sales Jim Hassell has sent us this post in response.
“Renai argues that the business bundles available over the NBN fibre merely “more expensive versions of the NBN’s consumer plans”. Let’s look at the facts.
If you’re a sole individual running a spectacularly successful technology blog then multi-line telephony and faster fault restoration times probably seem like unnecessary bells and whistles. But for a burgeoning small business that wants to attract new customers, save money and grow then they are far more than niceties.
The ability to run up to 50 business-grade phone services over a single fibre connection and benefit from faster fault restoration, along with faster speeds and far greater download capacity, will play no small part in helping them to maintain the edge over their rivals – both here and abroad.
As for the price point, I’d argue the relevant comparison is not with NBN retail packages but with existing business packages currently available over the copper access network. It’s a comparison certainly being made by Delimiter’s own readers who claim that simply by moving over to the NBN they’ll be able to save thousands of dollars a month. Says “BBA”, who is eyeing an NBN-enabled business product with 100/40 speeds and a download limit 1TB that costs a grand total of $130 a month: “Saving more than $1000 and having 50 times the speed down and 20 up…well that’s priceless. There is no way you can be upset with these prices.”
Many micro-businesses will be happy with residential-grade broadband, and that’s fine. We wouldn’t suggest anyone take a business service unless they see value in it. But as more ISPs begin to offer more services to more businesses in more parts of the country, then we’ll start to see more competition.
Isn’t that the whole point of the NBN? To foster a level playing field in retail telecommunications for the first time. It’s NBN Co’s job to create an environment that enables a greater competition, more innovation and better choice for all Australia – including small business.
But with the business features scheduled to be released over coming months on the NBN, service providers will be able to offer useful and valuable services for businesses more easily — and more affordably — than they can now over DSL.”
Image credit: NBN Co