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Jonathan Crossfield
Business and Technology Journalist

Jonathan is an award-winning journalist, blogger, writer and editor, locked in a daily fight for the keyboard with two very impatient cats.

Jonathan Crossfield
Business and Technology Journalist

Jonathan is an award-winning journalist, blogger, writer and editor, locked in a daily fight for the keyboard with two very impatient cats.

As the nbn™ network continues to roll out across Australia, many businesses are still to grapple with questions of when to make the switch and which plan to choose.

With so much activity surrounding the nbn network, it would be easy to dismiss the theoretical benefits while viewing the compulsory change as a very real disruption.

man sitting on desk in warehouse office space

However, in Tasmania, the benefits are no longer theoretical as most of the state has been connected to the nbn network for well over three years. Former regional sales manager for Vita Group’s Telstra Business Centres in Hobart and Shepparton, Adam Williams has noticed a shift in small business attitudes towards the nbn network. “When people first started moving to the nbn network there was a small percentage of businesses that saw the benefits. A large percentage [saw it as] just a movement exercise. What's changed recently is that small businesses are starting to see or be educated on what more reliable connectivity can actually deliver.”

Williams discusses what you should consider when deciding how and when to move your business to the nbn network.

Upload and download performance    

While most consumer discussion focuses on how fast you can download or stream a movie, upload reliability is potentially far more critical. What’s important is answering the question: “What does your business do on a day-to-day basis? It's not only what activities you're doing, but how many concurrent activities you could be doing at one time that you want a more reliable connection for.”

He advises not to decide future telecommunications based on today’s needs. “Believe it or not, most customers would, if they could, cut telecommunications costs. However, telecommunications are business-critical in almost every business because—whether online, data, or voice—this is how your customers interact with you.”

Customer expectations are continually shifting as new technologies enable new trends and behaviours. “It’s important to understand where the market is going. What do consumers or customers need, how do they want to deal with my business, and am I setting myself up to be able to deliver that?”

Williams believes many businesses aren’t sufficiently aware of the opportunities presented by cloud computing. “Cloud computing is the future.”

nbn-connected businesses could also benefit from greater use of mobile applications. “Businesses can upload loads of information in a short period of time, which allows their mobile workforce to be able to access information quickly and easily on the go,” says Williams. “For example, the ability to have trucks on the road [making] for more deliveries each day because they're not
heading backwards and forwards to a depot.”

Don’t forget the nbn network carries all of your fixed voice calls as well, simultaneously uploading and downloading both sides of the conversation as data. Too many calls at once, and your ability to upload and download other data may be affected.

“Selecting a lower speed tier may be fine if you're only having one, two or three concurrent calls,” explains Williams. “But if you're running a business that has twenty people talking on the phone, that's going to take up so much bandwidth.”

Many businesses are using the nbn network to enable a more flexible workforce. “Instead of having a call centre where they pull everyone into an office for eight hours a day, people can log
on from home and perform the same role.”

The service delivered by the nbn network also makes it far more practical to bring a remote workforce together over a video conferencing platform.

Williams sees selecting the right speed tier for your purposes as a critical consideration when choosing a plan. “It's not only what activities you're doing, but how many concurrent activities you could be doing at one time that you want a more reliable connection for.”

Plan ahead

When the nbn network becomes available in your area, you will have 18 months to move across. While that sounds like plenty of time, Williams doesn’t advise putting it off. “This process requires visits from technicians, possibly equipment to be installed in premises. A lot needs to happen. Get in early because nbn co are decommissioning the existing network. Despite best efforts, there are always customers who have left it too late and they're being caught out.” 

nbn co will send you a list of providers, many of which may be new to you. Williams advises looking beyond simple price comparisons to consider the quality and reliability of the carriage service as well as their ability to help you achieve the maximum benefit out of the nbn network. 

“There are a lot of offerings out there. Talk to a provider that understands where you want to take your business as opposed to a provider that’s just five bucks cheaper than the guy next door. Talk through how the nbn network can impact other areas of your business: Productivity; the ability to help reach more customers; the ability to help increase revenue or drive efficiency. The customers who have those conversations are the ones who will get the most benefit out of the nbn network.”

When will the nbn network be available in your area? 

Check the Telstra nbn Rollout Map

Which nbn technologies will be available in your area?

FTTP, fixed wireless and satellite connections will require additional equipment to be installed in your premises.

  • Fibre to the Node (FTTN)
  • Fibre to the Building (FTTB)
  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
  • Fixed Wireless (FW)
  • Satellite
  • Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
  • Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
How will your business stay ahead of customer expectations and the competition in the next few years?
  • Could cloud services help you to work more efficiently and cost effectively?
  • Could mobile technology assist in increasing productivity outside of the office?
  • Will the number of concurrent phone calls increase as the business grows?
  • Is video conferencing likely to increase for customers and/or remote workers?
Which nbn speed tier will you need within the next couple of years (download/upload)?

More concurrent activities will require the selection of a higher tier. The below list details Telstra’s typical minimum speeds for businesses during business hours. Please note, each provider offers different typical minimum speeds.    

  • Standard Speed: 22Mbps/4Mbps
  • Standard Plus Speed: 45Mbps/15Mbps
  • Premium Speed: 90Mbps/30Mbps
Are your business devices and services nbn-ready?

(Not sure? Speak to your nearest Telstra Business Centre to find out.)

  • Is your modem/router nbn-compatible?
  • Do you need to replace any business phones?
  • Do you have security monitoring or back-to-base alarm system that uses your existing PSTN line?
  • Do you have an EFTPOS or HICAPS system?
  • Do you have a fax line? 



Service availability: Telstra services on the nbn network are not available to all areas, premises or customers. Once you take up a service on the nbn you can’t move back to Telstra services on the existing copper network. Speeds on the nbn network: Download/Upload speeds: Actual speeds will be slower and will vary due to a number of factors including hardware and software configuration, source and type of content downloaded, the number of users and performance of interconnecting infrastructure not operated by us. An nbn service can never go faster than the maximum line speed available at your premises, so for FTTN/B/C customers we will confirm your actual speeds after connection if your typical speeds will be limited. Find out more about speeds on the nbn network with Telstra at Installation: Professional installation may be required in some circumstances. Extra charges may apply for non-standard or professional install of Telstra or nbn co equipment. nbn™, nbn co and other nbn logos and brands are trademarks of nbn co limited and used under license. ® are registered trademarks and ™ are trademarks of Telstra Corporation Limited, ABN 33 051 775 556


*Originally published: November 28th 2016. Updated January 31st 2019.    

Find out how Telstra and nbn™ can help your business. 
Find out moreFind out how Telstra and nbn™ can help your business. 
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