NBN roll-out to regional businesses needs to be priority

FAST-TRACKING the National Broadband Network roll-out to regional businesses must be a key priority of any changes under the Abbott Government's review of NBN Co, a peak business group has urged.

The Australian industry Group will release details of a survey of business needs from broadband internet access on Wednesday.

It found quality and reliability were the biggest concerns for 44% of businesses around the country, followed closely by access and connection costs at 30%.

AIG chief executive Innes Willox said high-speed broadband was "increasingly important" to businesses, with 75% of those surveyed rating access as important in next two to three years.

But he said nearly 40% of businesses currently rated their existing communications infrastructure as inadequate.

"The problem is particularly acute for businesses in outer metropolitan and regional areas," he said.

"Accelerating access to better infrastructure for these businesses should be a priority in any revision of the rollout timetable."

Mr Willox said the industry was calling on the government and NBN Co to ensure business needs were taken into account in the 60-day review of the roll-out.

 

Recommendations:

Giving greater priority to rolling out infrastructure to poorly served businesses and industrial estates in outer suburban and regional areas.

Taking into account the needs of different user groups, including business users, in the reviews of the NBN.

Ensuring affordable access to fibre to the premise (FTTP) services for those businesses that desire it and the release of key details about these services such as availability, provisioning and pricing.

Clearly communicating any timetable revisions to the business community to ensure businesses are aware of when services will become available in their area.

Identifying how a revised model will allow for an upgrade path to FTTP services in the longer term.


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