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NBN Co pumps in A$700m to shore up business connectivity

Australia’s national wholesale broadband provider is creating up to 240 business fibre zones across the country to provide businesses with access to its enterprise ethernet service

Australia’s national wholesale broadband provider NBN Co is investing up to A$700m to extend the reach of the country’s fibre network in bid to spur business productivity and growth over the next three years.

For a start, it will create up to 240 business fibre zones across Australia, including a presence in 85 regional centres. All businesses within these zones will have access to enterprise ethernet services, at significantly reduced wholesale prices. These zones are expected to cover over 700,000 business premises.

NBN Co’s enterprise ethernet service is its fastest symmetrical wholesale product and premium-grade business offering. It has options for prioritised traffic, high capacity and symmetrical upload and download wholesale speeds from 10Mbps to close to 1Gbps, along with enhanced 24/7 support.

In business fibre zones, NBN Co said enterprise ethernet prices will be slashed by up to 67% in some cases, giving thousands of regional businesses access to the same support as businesses in capital city centres, at the same wholesale price.

The locations of the first 130 business fibre zones were released today, including 61 in regional centres such as Bunbury, Mount Gambier, Devonport, Shepparton, Port Macquarie and Rockhampton.

On a national level, 14 business fibre zones will be in existing health precincts that host major hospitals and related research and education facilities to support essential services and health innovation.

“Never before has broadband been more relevant and critical to the success of Australia’s businesses,” said Stephen Rue, CEO of NBN Co. “Access to fast, reliable and secure broadband ensures Australian businesses remain competitive, innovative and relevant in today’s global markets.

“Businesses are the economic engine of the nation, and it’s vitally important that we support Australian companies, in every location, to help them grow and stay competitive.”

To lower the cost of deploying enterprise ethernet for internet retailers, NBN Co said it will not charge retailers for building the fibre for an estimated 90% of business premises in the NBN network footprint.

“Plus, if an internet retailer signs up for a three-year enterprise ethernet plan, we will not charge the retailer an up-front connection cost,” it added.

Luke Clifton, group executive at Macquarie Telecom, lauded NBN Co’s latest move, noting that it has been an ally to businesses amid the pandemic and is committed to helping businesses reduce costs and access the connectivity they need.

“The value of our now most important national asset has been proven, and the position we’re in is a complete turnaround from the detrimental journey tier one telcos had us on before the NBN was introduced and executed.

“Crucially, the availability of point-to-point, fibre-on-demand to 85 regional zones will bring greater competition to regional Australia and be the final nail in the coffin for tier-ones underserving and overcharging regional businesses that have not had a choice of provider,” he added.

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