Telecommunications

Why the NBN ‘blanket approach’ isn’t working for small businesses

Dev Oza /

NBN alternatives

FG Telecom chief executive officer and sales director Dev Oza. Source: Supplied.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) launched in 2009 with the promise of terrestrial fibre network coverage for 93% of Australian premises by 2020, but with less than two years left, research indicates the national infrastructure has fallen short.

Evidence suggests customer dissatisfaction rates are outstripping the rate of rollout, and it’s small businesses that are left to pay the price. With uncertainty surrounding the NBN service quality, Australian businesses are waiting for a reliable fibre internet connection that will deliver on what it promises.

The longer Australian businesses have to wait for the NBN, the longer they’re lagging behind the rest of the world, which ultimately could have detrimental effects on business productivity.

Big businesses and red tape

The big providers are the primary providers of the NBN network in Australia, but consumers have been held hostage due to lack of competition from local, agile and customer-focused providers.

From personal experience working within these companies, workers are limited in their ability to assist customers due to red tape associated with large businesses.

Staff within large companies are required to work within the system and follow tedious and often unnecessary protocols which can lead to an unsatisfactory customer experience.

Every customer has been on hold with one of the big telco contact centres at some point, and these contact centre staff are often either ill-equipped to handle queries and outages adequately or are not invested in ensuring the customer has the best experience.

Businesses need customisation

The problem with current internet providers is the lack of variety and competition, as the main providers offer most businesses the same deals, regardless of their individual needs. It’s this abuse of power that allows them to dictate the market by only providing limited and generic products.

For example, large telcos will only offer a certain rate card for each different bandwidth, or a certain data amount, because according to them, this is what businesses need.

But no two businesses are the same and a blanket approach like the NBN is not working. Enterprise customers need the opportunity to customise products and service, and they need to be able to speak to a person at a call centre who is not restrained by red tape.

A great example are small creative businesses that rely heavily on a strong connection due to large files needing to be shared, while also needing direct access to a data centre as opposed to the cloud. Large companies are not likely to understand these individual needs and may charge for services that a smaller company will never use.

This is why businesses should look to support privately funded telcos who are not driven solely by shareholder profits, as this allows them to stay true to the primary value of delivering stellar customer service.

In Australia, small business is big business, and small businesses will look after other smaller businesses. Large businesses don’t understand small business, they don’t know how much just a few hours of downtime can affect business operations.

When choosing a telecommunications provider, consumers should do their due diligence and look past main providers to find out what is on offer from existing small providers across Australia.

It’s the small companies that are helping to reshape the telecommunication industry, offering alternative products and giving power back to the customers.

NOW READ: Telecommunications “hell”: The businesses left in the lurch by Australia’s NBN fiasco

NOW READ: NBN alternative startup Uniti Wireless scores $5 million in funding from SA government to fuel growth across Australia

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Dev Oza

Dev is the chief executive and sales director of FG Telecom, an Australian-owned telecommunications service provider based in Port Melbourne.

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