Businesses should invest in broadband or risk being left behind

A panel comprising NBN Co, AGIMO and Minter Ellison Lawyers has urged businesses to get onboard the NBN early or risk losing out to competitors

Businesses have been urged not to miss the boat when it comes to investing early in the National Broadband Network (NBN), and advised of potential changes it could have on their operations in the future.

Addressing a Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Sydney, a panel comprising NBN Co head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) first assistant secretary of policy and planning, Glenn Archer, and Minter Ellison CIO, Peter Westerveld, discussed how businesses would be left behind if they failed to invest in new technologies early.

“As technology increasingly makes it easier for you to connect with your client, it will also be easier for your competitors to connect with your client as well so I think you’ve got to be sure you’re ahead of the curve on that one and prepared,” Westerveld said.

“A lawyer is really a trusted advisor for a business ... and to become a trusted advisor, I really think connectivity and the ability to easily connect with people is essential,” he said.

“Anything that can be done to make that connectivity and that trust relationship easier should be done.”

Hassell could not mention specific types of applications that would require the proposed high speeds offered by the NBN, but said those who invested in the network would have a number of advantages including the “first mover’s advantage”.

“Second thing is you can actually go along with the rollout, so we’ll publish a three-year plan with where the rollout is going and that’s going to enable businesses and companies to figure out the types or services they can offer and how they’ll offer them,” Hassell said.

“I think if you leave it to the end, the chances are your competitors have already thought it through and have started doing it.”

According to Westerveld, human relationships and communication continues to change and aside from implementing a technology to deal with that client interaction will be quite different.

“I think for a lot of people there’s a lot of learning to be done, so even if you think you might use it within your business over the next couple of years, I think it’s important to start using it within the business now and learning how it might impact on the way you deal and interact with clients, partners and vendors,” Westerveld said.

Archer echoed this sentiment, but notes it depends on the business and what goals are trying to be achieved.

“Clearly there’s an enormous amount of research now about the degree to which ICT and broadband generally delivers productivity gains to organisations, so if you’re looking to do more with less or deliver whole new services then I think that opportunity shouldn’t be overlooked,” he said.

The company charged with the rollout of the network, NBN Co, recently bowed to pressure from a number of smaller RSPs, including Internode, around the pricing of its wholesale Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC).

NBN Co will offer a rebate on the charge for 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) per month for the first 30,000 premises in a connectivity serving area, connected to each of the 121 points of interconnect (PoI).

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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