NBN Co, the company building and upgrading Australia’s broadband network, is looking to make US$1 billion revenue from its business segment, as it seeks to lure more service providers to offer business-grade NBN, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

While many small businesses are already using residential-grade NBN services, there is a demand for connections with higher service levels, lower contention ratios and better performance, added GlobalData.

To address this area, NBN Co is improving its products and infrastructure. The company is reportedly embarking on a project to extend fiber connectivity to 400,000 businesses in areas that have a strong business presence, including state and territory capital central business districts (CBDs), outer metro and regional commercial zones.

Siow Meng Soh, Technology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “This is crucial for businesses that are increasingly using cloud services and applications that are driving more traffic across the network. The availability of faster access and higher service levels will motivate businesses to adopt other technologies such as cloud, collaboration and big data analytics and IoT. Laying fiber to customer premises is costly and telco’s such as TPG and Vocus will only cover CBD/metro areas. NBN Co is in the best position to extend fiber access to business districts outside key metro areas.”

In addition, NBN Co launched a Business Operations Centre in August 2018 to provide specialist technical support dedicated to business customers with the aim to reduce disruption and increase certainty for business as they migrate to NBN products.

The company is also reportedly introducing new bundles which mirror the residential bundles – combining 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps access virtual circuits with 2/2.5Mbps of connectivity virtual circuits. The bundles are aimed to improve customer experience, overcoming the issue with retailers under-provisioning which impact speeds during peak times.

In December 2018, NBN Co introduced wholesale discount bundles for businesses, combining faster access, committed bandwidth and premium service levels. To help increase service continuity and reduce interruption for businesses, selected wholesale discount bundles will also include the option to install a subsequent line to test critical applications before connecting to the NBN access network.

With access to over half a million businesses, the NBN is becoming an attractive conduit to SMBs in Australia. The migration to business-grade NBN products should also be seen as an opportunity for telcos to offer a wider range of services to business customers.

Soh concludes: “The trend is now towards delivering services more effectively through a digital platform that automates manual processes and offers better response times. Service providers targeting large enterprises can take further steps to offer consulting services to help enterprise transform their network and implement their migration plan. Service providers can also work with NBN Co to gain support in marketing and educating customers the benefits of NBN-based services.”