Telstra says that many SMBs on the National Broadband Network (NBN), which continues to be rolled out across Australia, are enjoying a productivity boost and a reduction in operational costs among other benefits.
In a survey of SMBs on the network, conducted by the telco, 41% reported improved productivity, 15% reported decreased business costs – with the regional experience being slightly higher at 19% – and 5% cited increased revenue as a result of the connection to the network, which is designed to provide fast broadband.
Moreover, SMBs reported using the move to NBN as an opportunity to take stock of their technology inventory and making upgrades to make the most of the new infrastructure, with 36% of businesses replacing hardware such as computers, tablets and mobile devices and 18% upgrading software to cloud-based solutions following the switch.
Steven Peck, Director of NBN Business at Telstra said that while most customers have only moved to the network in the past two years, the survey was evidence that businesses are already ‘banking benefits to the bottom line’.
“The roll-out of the NBN is set to hit significant scale this year, with 1 in 5 small businesses in Australia likely to be connected to the fast broadband network by the end of the financial year,” he said.
Regional SMBs seeking guidance form afar
The survey showed SMBs are taking advantage of file-sharing technology (22%), working remotely (19%) and conducting video and tele-conferencing (19%) on the NBN network. Additionally, regional businesses in particular cited an increase in their use of online training and webinars to connect them with experts who can provide the valuable business guidance from afar (21% compared to 8% in metro areas).
Peck said that the trend towards SMB investment in technology will continue as the NBN network rolls out, and SMBs are encouraged to upgrade their technology to maximise the benefits of the network
“The increased instant asset threshold allows small businesses to claim an immediate deduction for assets that cost less than $20,000 excluding GST, and assets covered under this legislation are technologies including hardware (computers, tablets and mobile devices) and software purchased for business use,” he said.
‘Late adoption will result in disruption’
The survey follows the release of data from the University of Melbourne, showing that SMBs are set to contribute an additional $4 billion to Australia’s GDP after the NBN completes rollout. The report also links business success with the adoption of new digital services, which are expected to increase productivity.
“Under government policy most fixed line services must move to the NBN, and market insights reveal businesses around Australia are at risk of disruption to their business if they leave the move to the NBN to the latter stages of the rollout,” Peck said.
“Transferring services onto the NBN network can take some time and coordination and we are very aware of how important a working phone, data and internet connection is to a business. We encourage all small businesses to check the availability of the NBN network in their area today, and continually review their technology to ensure they are ready to make the most of the NBN network once they are connected.”
The national roll-out of the NBN is expected to be completed by 2020. For more information, head to www.nbnco.com.au.