Is The NBN Slowing Down Business Broadband Providers?

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has never been planned as a speedy rollout; on current projections, it won't be completed until after 2021. But has waiting around for it meant that other providers have stopped building infrastructure for the business market?

Cable picture from Shutterstock

Bennett Oprysa, CEO of Australian managed cloud service provider BitCloud, said that the NBN has affected the rollout plans of some business ISPs, which in turn affected the range of products that BitCloud could potentially offer to its customers. "The NBN has been a very damaging exercise, because as soon as it was announced, all the telcos stopped developing new services," he told a press luncheon yesterday. BitCloud uses AAPT and BigAir to provide connectivity to its customers. "It's been problematic," he said.

Taking that claim at face value, the obvious question is: would the scenario be different with no NBN at all, or with a different approach? The Coalition says that its policy is to identify areas of greatest need and focus broadband rollouts there. That would mean that in areas which already had a range of services, NBN builds might well be slower. It's not clear that would automatically mean more choices for business buyers; it might mean they would still be stuck with what is already on offer, or face a scenario where they can resell capacity from just a handful of providers.

But that assumes no expansion is taken place, and I'd suggest that isn't entirely the case. Some communication companies have continued to expand their networks despite the NBN rollout. A single example: Andrew Findlay, managing director for wireless network infrastructure Vertel, said that its expansion plans have not changed because of the NBN. "We use a hybrid wireless and fibre solution to get to the areas that the NBN can't" he said. "Our difference we deliver over point-to-point microwave We drag it all the way back to the major metropolitan areas rather than going with ports of interconnect like the NBN."

Findlay argues that there are large amounts of business-owned fibre already in Australia; the challenge is being able to break in or out of them. That scenario requires business negotiations, but exists entirely outside the NBN universe. Findlay notes that NBN Co has not actively explored alternative technologies for rolling out broadband.

However, the alternative providers are there. Vertel's services might not be priced at a level that makes sense for BitCloud or its customers, and that more nuanced view makes more sense than simply claiming the NBN itself is responsible for the slowdown. No matter how much competition is out there, you won't always get services as cheaply as you (or your boss) would like.


    Absolutely the NBN has slowed down the availability of broadband services to business! What providers in their right mind would deploy fibre to buildings that are within the NBN fibre foot print? None! What does this mean? It means the NBN is obligated to focus services delivery to areas that currently do not have access to broadband services, and they are obligated to do it as quickly as practical as they are effectively denying business and residents access to broadband until they deliver it!

      Er.. But most cities already have large existing fibre networks, just not direct to homes..

      Stop trying to build offices in outback tasmania please.

    TPG/Pipenetworks are still forging ahead with new rollout plans in Melbourne and Sydney CBDs it seems. Their GPON services have been hooked up to our two buildings (Syd/Melb) and we've been the first tenant on each. Incredibly cheap 100Mb connections. Subsequent links are cheaper again (for us and other tenants in the building).

    I'm not affiliated, etc, etc.

    In Lake Maquarie we've seen massive slow downs to near dial up speeds on business connections while Telstra continues to jam more connections onto old hardware. We have very few other options in the area as it's all Telstra hardware being resold, though there is a little bit of 'optus direct' however that's available in very few exchanges.

      Do you not have any format of SLA? Seems strange for a business grade connection.. We have multiple and have imposed penalties on Telstra in many instances when they were not able to meet SLA's, though the threat is usually enough.


      Everyone would be spending money on their core network, because that will be re-used in an NBN world. But who would go and install DSLAMs into new exchanges, or upgrade from ADSL2+ to VDSL2+ or beyond, when the investment payback could be very short. Because NBNCo currently only advise guidelines on their rollout for the next 3 years, it's always possible that just after the 3 years, they start in an area that you have just upgraded, and so get left with stranded investment that you can no longer recoup costs for.

        Nobody is forcing them to.. But they're going to have a hard time keeping up eventually if they don't.

        I don't see any need for them to update 'ahead' of time anyway, or what benefit that would bring.. ADSL2/2+ is already incredibly fast for most peoples needs, and if you need more - chances are you're either doing something with it you shouldn't be, or at the least - something a consumer end internet product was never designed for.

    Who would have thought depending 100% on another business investing would have you depending 100% on that business?

    We just got 2 new E1's and a T1 installed within 48 hours by Telstra in Perth despite full scale roll outs taking place.. Just sayin'.

    More likely would be they don't value their business that much because it isn't as lucrative as direct to consumer products (different pricing models/structures) OR their providers are simply using the NBN as an excuse. It would be interesting to see an actual statement from them on this if it's actually a real concern for them, rather than a regurgitated (it's not a quote - you're basically giving us a "yeah strewth Ben had a right go at the NBN tonight at the pub mate") representation.

    I couldn't find anything at all regarding delays even on their site for example.

      ... a T1 is a very strange interface to have installed in Perth ???

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