The number one priority for business users in a high-speed broadband service is quality and reliability, an industry survey has found.
The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) released the findings of the survey last week.
Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, released the report The Business End of Broadband: What business users want from high-speed broadband in an address to the Commsday Conference in Melbourne.
“Our report highlights that the number one priority for business users in a high-speed broadband service is quality and reliability (44 per cent),” Mr Willox said.
This was followed by access and connection costs (30 per cent), upload and download speeds (15 per cent) and the timeframe for the rollout (10 per cent).
Mr Willox called on NBN Co and the Government to consider business users’ needs in the reviews of the NBN to ensure the final model delivers high quality and affordable services to business and household users.
“Affordability is also a key issue, particularly for small to medium enterprises, Mr Willox said.
“While we welcome the new Government’s focus on reducing access prices, we will be looking to the reviews to provide more detail on how this commitment will be met.”
Mr Willox said while the needs of households have received considerable attention in the debate over the NBN in recent years, less attention has been paid to the needs of business users.
“High-speed broadband presents many opportunities to businesses yet the vast majority of Australian businesses do not have a high-speed broadband connection.”
According to ABS data, only 13 per cent of business and government users have high-speed broadband connections, and the figure is significantly lower for SMEs. Most businesses (over 70%) still access the Internet via lower-speed ADSL.
“Australian businesses recognise that access to high-speed broadband is increasingly important to their business, Mr Willox said. “Seventy-five per cent of the businesses we surveyed rated access to high-speed broadband as important to their business over the next two to three years.
“Our research also found that nearly 40 per cent of businesses rate their existing telecommunications infrastructure as inadequate.”
The problem is particularly acute for businesses in outer metropolitan and regional areas.
Accelerating access to better infrastructure for these businesses should be a priority in any revision of the rollout timetable, Mr Willox said.
Also, about 60 per cent of businesses have not begun to prepare for the rollout of the NBN, and 30 per cent say they do not expect to.
The AiGroup will submit a list of key recommendations to Government with an insight into what business wants from high-speed broadband.