Local businesses warned to get ready for NBN Coming with speed
TOWNSVILLE’s experiment in high-speed internet has been delayed by floods and cyclones but National Broadband Network Company Ltd executive Mike Kaiser told a forum in the city yesterday it was coming.
He also warned that people, particularly those in business, needed to think how it will change the landscape for them.
The event was a game changer giving small businesses, even in remote locations, the ability to compete against the ‘‘ big guys’’, Mr Kaiser said. Conversely, it could also send you broke.
‘‘ Having a good broadband network makes the size and location of business irrelevant,’’ Mr Kaiser said.
‘‘ It means small businesses located in places like Townsville or even in remote places can tackle the big guys.
‘‘ However people do need to think about how it is going to change their business model, otherwise the danger is or the risk is they may well go the way of Blockbuster in the United States who did not think about it early enough.’’
The well-known video store operator went bust late last year around the same time internet video download operator Netflix began ramping up its business, snaring a big share of the market.
Perhaps it is fortunate, then, we have more time.
Parts of the suburbs of Ait-- kenvale and Mundingburra in Townsville are one of five first release Australian sites to trial NBN’s fibre technology.
While the trial was supposed to be up and running by the second quarter of this year, Mr Kaiser said contractor Ergon Energy had been diverted by flood and cyclone events.
But the work was progressing well and NBN was one or two months away from completing construction, he said.
‘‘ We’ll be testing the service with a small number of end users,’’ Mr Kaiser said.
‘‘ We have to limit the numbers and make sure that it works.’’ About 2500 premises are in the Townsville test area and 63 per cent had consented to connecting their premises to the network.
Mr Kaiser said the test areas were expected to go on line by September this year depending on how the test phase proceeded.
‘‘ We are working with retailers now to work out who is going to come on board to test the network,’’ he said.
NBN will provide wholesale services at rates starting from $ 24 per month for 12 megabit per second download speeds and retailers will sell to consumers.
Mr Kaiser told the conference at the North Queensland Small Business and Franchise Expo a host of companies were preparing to sell devices which could take advantage of the higher speeds.
Technology sector company Cisco had a set top box which would retail for about $ 300 which could turn a TV into a video conferencing facility.
Other companies had devices to interact with your doctor and gadgets which would help elderly people to live in their homes longer than they otherwise would.
For business, higher speeds would allow for ‘‘ cloud services’’ so that people could rent software services and access information in much the same way that people use Facebook now.
As for when the entire city could enjoy such services, Mr Kaiser believed its selection as a pilot site would lift its place in the queue.
About 93 per cent of premises in Australia are to be serviced by fibre and 7 per cent through wireless and satellite technology by 2020.
‘‘ Having started in Townsville, it makes sense to keep going . . . and keep using the teams that have been assembled,’’ Mr Kaiser said.
‘‘ My concern is the business community won’t move quick enough to take advantage of the broadband network.’’
GAME CHANGER: National Broadband Network Company Ltd executive Mike Kaiser in Townsville yesterday