Cisco and NBN Co have struck an exclusive agreement to drive and speed up the capability for Small to Medium Businesses (SMB) to connect to business NBN, a well as a raft of access technology services that could help support their digital transformation.

“Digitally enabling the Small Business workforce is imperative for Australia to grow and be more competitive,” said Cisco ANZ VP Ken Boal. “There are clear opportunities for RSP’s and ICT Channel partners to build offers and digital solutions for eligible SMBs which can be bundled with NBN services and help them realise the potential of digital enablement.”

This forms the first investment announcement as part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program announced last week, aimed at helping to drive Australia’s inclusive economic growth.

“Small business plays a crucial role as the backbone of our Australian economy and represents a fast growing IT market. We’re not just helping to connect eligible SMB’s to business NBN, we are helping to transform SMBs digitally whilst connecting, simply and more securely,” said Boal.

There are now more than half a million businesses connected to the NBN access network and connecting at a rate of around 20,000 new businesses each month. This represents a huge opportunity for many businesses to benefit from the collaboration.

The San Francisco based firm emphasised that Australian SMB’s will be faced with a disconnection reality, and added that with business NBN services now widely available across NBN Co’s fixed line network, it is now key “to ensure that an eligible small business who might be on a consumer grade connection, can connect to a retail plan.”

“With almost three in four businesses now able to connect to the NBN access network there is an enormous opportunity to educate the market. We encourage businesses to speak to their providers to see if tapping in to the network with business NBN could help them streamline operations, leverage
state-of-the-art applications and potentially increase their bottom line,” said NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue.

“We have focused our efforts on building a wholesale product and service suite that service providers can tailor to deliver for the needs of Australian businesses. This includes high and symmetrical download and upload speeds designed to support critical video and data applications, optimised voice services and optional premium service levels to support retailers to keep businesses up and running,” he added.

New SMB-focused capabilities include:
• Transforming the SMB’s customer experience and adoption of technology
to help SMB’s communicate and collaborate with their customers.
• Productive and effective decision making, greater flexibility and cost
• Access applications faster, moving to and from the Cloud.
• New innovation capability and scale to global markets.

Cisco said this CDA investment will focus on educating and building awareness with SMB’s around the opportunity to more securely connect and access business and enterprise grade technology that Retail Service Providers (RSP) or ICT Channel Partners can bundle and deliver to the market.

In addition, there will be joint go-to-market and digital marketing activities to help share how SMB’s can potentially digitally transform their business leveraging business grade services from NBN.