What does the NBN mean for your business?

All of you will no doubt have read and heard much of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in recent times, but how will it affect your business? This article is a guide to what to expect from the NBN now, and into the future, as the rollout gains momentum. Telarus will be working hard to guarantee the quality of our services, and we will be working closely with clients to ensure a smooth and profitable transition to the NBN.



What is the NBN?


The National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide Australia with a single national broadband infrastructure. In part the NBN will leverage fixed-wireless and satellite technologies, but the key difference will lie in replacing traditional copper-based lines with fibre optics. Importantly for business, this will affect commodity communication services such as DSL and PSTN telephony. These services underpin a range of business systems and day-to-day operations, such as point of sale, EFTPOS, ERP, and Intranet services. Many businesses also use commodity services to connect remote offices and retail stores to corporate private networks and the Internet.


Once established, the NBN should be accompanied by significant improvements in broadband services and reliability. However, infrastructure changes of this magnitude typically involve teething problems of some degree, and Telarus is actively working with clients to manage the transition.



What Does it Mean for My Business?


Many traditional communication services provided by the Telstra copper infrastructure will be decommissioned. Analogue telephone lines or PSTN and xDSL type services will be targeted first, typically in significantly populated areas of the country. ISDN 2, OnRamp and Multiline alternatives will also be available in the form of SIP Trunks within the NBN environment. It is expected that the NBN will deliver benefits, both in terms of the performance and reliability of these services, as well as putting downward pressure on costs through a converged communications infrastructure. As these benefits are realised, the adoption of NBN alternatives is expected to accelerate.


The impact on services with low or prescribed contention ratios under the NBN is yet to be finalised. Until such a time, products such as SHDSL, Ethernet over Copper, and Ethernet over Fibre will remain. It is however inevitable that as the rollout gains momentum and service capabilities are tailored to the business market, alternatives to EoC and SHDSL will become available.


In terms of performance, all services available on the NBN today are contended to some degree. Since the NBN itself is a wholesale service only, the contention ratio of your own connection will vary depending upon your service provider, how they have structured their product and how it was technically built. Telarus has successfully implemented a policy of congestion avoidance in the provision of NBN services, and we will continue to offer this service to our customers. Telarus will continue to ensure that adequate capacity is always available to service peak demand, without congestion.


It is important to note that EFTPOS, Alarm systems, medical alert & duress systems may be affected by a change to VoIP. Since power is not available via a copper phone line, careful consideration should be put into the use of fixed-line telephones in an emergency. A local power outage may affect your telephony services. The standard NBN customer premises equipment will support two Analogue / VoIP (UNI-V) ports with battery backup for 2 hours. In the event of a power failure the data ports (UNI-D) are shutdown. This is particularly important if you are considering an IP Alarm system.


Telarus will also provide both private network (VPN) and internet services in the new NBN environment, as it does currently with DSL and EoC technologies. We are committed to working with each of our customers, site by site, as particular geographic regions become “Ready for Service”. We will help clients migrate both their data and telephony services onto the NBN, and offer a range of support services to ensure a seamless transition. We are committed to minimizing the disruption to day-to-day business activity, and to facilitating the transition to the NBN in a transparent and structured manner.



How Long Do I Have To Get Ready?


Already well underway, the rollout of NBN will take considerable time to complete. It is anticipated that the first businesses to be impacted will be retail strip shops and new developments while larger shopping centres and commercial / industrial districts will follow at a later time.


While it is impossible to know exactly when some geographic areas will have access to the NBN, there is a rolling three-year schedule, which is updated regularly. This means that availability in a particular area should come with at least some lead-in.


It is important to understand the concept of “Ready for Service” and what this means to your business. “Ready for Service” loosely means that NBN services are available in your area and are probably available at your premises.


Once an area is declared “Ready for Service”, a transition period of 18 months exists to migrate all comparable (xDSL and PSTN) services to the NBN. While a number of exemptions and conditions exist, as a general rule you can assume following this period the copper communications network and associated services will be decommissioned.


Telarus will provide regular updates to all of our clients as areas become ready for service. Telarus will notify you if your services are affected and we will work closely with you to guide you through the transition.


There has been some speculation that FTTN (Fibre to the Node) might replace the NBN’s FTTP (Fibre to the premises) deployment. This would have an impact on the physical delivery of services. While Telarus does not prefer one solution over the other, a FTTN rollout would be less disruptive to your place of business and lessen the change to telephony. Not needing to visit each premises, replace the copper cabling and install new communications equipment has some short & medium term benefits including the service outage and disruption to business associated the NBN FTTP.


As a business consumer of these communication services, either FTTN or FTTP will provide adequate communication services for that of a retail store or remote office for a reasonable time into the future. Telarus will keep you informed of any NBN policy changes that may affect your services.



Getting NBN Ready


The NBN should deliver a number of benefits to business. It should improve the performance and the reliability of broadband services, and as the market matures, it should deliver significant cost reductions as well.


Telarus will be actively working to make sure our customers are realising the full benefits of the NBN. We will be keeping customers abreast of developments in network coverage, and working to ensure an effortless transition and uninterrupted service.


If you still have any concerns regarding the impact of the NBN on your services and on your business, please contact us.

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