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What does NBN mean for your business?

August 30th 2010
Author -

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has become a bit of a political football of late. Confusing the little understanding we had of what it was in the first place. I would like to give a perspective stripped of political agenda and corporate implimentation bias, an opinion on what NBN could do for your business.

NBN is an attempt to make the internet faster for us. Stats and figures change, if you do a search for comparitive broadband speeds for countries, you can get an idea for yourself. Australia gets 2.6 (Mega Bits Per Second - Mbps). America gets about 5Mbps, Japan 8Mbps. We are ranked 50th in broadband speed, behind many countries. So what? What does Mbps mean? This figure translates to how fast a webpage loads, how quickly you can download files, music, movies. The faster we get out internet connection, the more smoothly and quickly the web runs.

How is this achieved? NBN is currently digging up the streets of Armidale (and other pilot sites around the country) and laying fiber optics. Down every street and to every house, fiber optics connected to the web, and to the world. Fiber optics is how many countries achieve their high internet speeds.

There are plenty of online resources for you to read about fiber and wireless and lots of technical stuff. But however we get faster internet speeds, what does that mean for your business?

  • Rich media content - Video can be shown on websites quickly and easily. High quality picture and sound without buffering and waiting. You can demonstrate your latest product, have introductory videos on how to assemble or troubleshoot your product. If you are in the service industry you can have a video introducing your motel and the attractions in your region. This extends to content rich files with high resolution graphics and large amounts of content. Architects could walk you through their CAD drawings even if you live on the other side of Australia.
  • Interactive video - Video conferencing will allow two parties to easily talk to one another. This high quality video will allow your onsite technician to discuss a problem with a remote customer. You could have a sales demonstration with multiple participants from around Australia.
  • Cloud computing - This is where business applications like Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Excel or any business software you have, resides in the Internet (the cloud). Your business applications and data are stored securely on remote computers. Your staff can then access everything from cheaper, simplier computers and mobile devices, anywhere they happen to be. This reduces the cost of IT support in your business and you can even drop your phone bills with technologies like Skype or other VOIP setups.
  • A more powerful web presence - The Internet has continued to grow, from websites that were nothing more than business cards many years ago, to the content rich websites we have today with blogs and fresh, relevant content linked to Twitter and Facebook. Faster Internet allows scope for another evolution, it is hard to know where it will go, but the web is adapting faster to customers needs.
  • Business differentiation - In and around Armidale, in rural NSW, we are seeing clients retain us to create their first websites for them. These clients understand the growing strength the Internet has to direct customers to them. If they are the only plumber online in Armidale, that creates a great point of difference and a monopoly on those customers searching online. NBN will offer a similiar opportunity, if you can find a way to meet the needs of your customers through this new media before and better than your rivals, you gain a competitve advantage.
  • Strengthen your region - We have been discussing in our Chamber of Commerce what NBN and early adoption can mean for Armidale and the New England region. With faster speeds remote business can compete with metropolitian business. For many of my clients their new customers don't even know they are in regional NSW. With great products and service most people don't care either. This means that rural areas can become appealing to business for low leases, low house prices, great schools and lifestyles. More business in your region means more prosperity and customers for you.

So what is next?

I think faster Internet speeds are inevitable, however they get to us. Audit your online presence now, How is it performing? How relevant is it to your customers? There are plenty of opportunities in the current environment to take advantage of the Internet. Then you will be well positioned to take advantage of NBN rollouts.

Contact us today to for a free appraisal of your current website.