Don’t get caught out – here’s our simple NBN guide for your business

Geeks on Tap co-founder Stephen Leonard (left) and manager Kris Fenton (right). Image supplied.

The NBN is coming and that means… faster internet, right?

With so many discussions focused on this aspect of the NBN rollout, it’s easy to forget that it’s replacing the existing telecommunication infrastructure, which means some of your voice services are going down.

The good news is getting set-up under the NBN is easy, and its impact on the way you do business could save you time and money.

Avoid unnecessary hassles for your NBN business-grade set up by talking to the experts at Commander.

In with the new, out with the ADSL

Early converts to the potential of the cloud, Stephen Leonard and his wife started Geeks on Tap out of their laundry room in 2009, wanting to help others experience the time- and cost-saving benefits of what they call “low-friction technology”.

In those early days, however, connection speeds posed something of a problem.

“ADSL downloads fast, and uploads slow,” Leonard says, “so we were doing all sorts of things, like stacking four connections up and combining their speeds – which is like putting four Christmas bonbons together and pulling. It was a bit awkward for small business, because we had to manage things so we weren’t uploading too much.”

But the rollout of the NBN has created a “faster, more affordable” service, he adds, allowing more and more businesses to take advantage of the cloud. And when you see how the numbers stack up, broadband’s upload speeds leave ADSL for dust.

“A typical ADSL service is around 20MG by 1MG, which is describing the download and upload speeds respectively,” says Henry Liddell, General Manager of Customer Activations at Commander. “At 100 by 40, the NBN connection is five times that download and 40 times that upload.”  

To find out if the NBN is available for your business, simply check the address with the NBN Co.

Communication as a holistic solution

The most important thing small business owners need to know about the NBN is also the most obvious thing, Liddell says, and that is that it’s coming “whether they like it or not”.

Not only whether you like it or not, but also whether you’re ready or not – most phone lines will be disconnected 18 months after the rollout, and because it’s a government-mandated disconnection there are no extensions or delays.

On the bright side, the upcoming changes present an opportunity to think big picture about your business’s service requirements.

“It’s not just about your connection any more, it’s about communications as a holistic solution,” says Liddell. “For example, most people have an EFTPOS machine running off a phone line, but when the NBN comes along that phone line will no longer work, so do you need to change your EFTPOS to be mobile solutions? Or do you need a more professional level of hardware to satisfy your requirements?”

A simple set-up

When arranging up your new NBN connection, there are some obvious considerations – i.e. speed, performance, what voice services you need, and whether you should get an unlimited business-grade data allowance from the get-go. But if you’re unfamiliar with some of the industry speak, it can sometimes be difficult to get a sense of what the service descriptions mean in real, day-to-day terms.

Asked whether there is a lot of confusion among his clients regarding the NBN, Leonard chuckles slightly.

“Oh yes,” he says, “because there are a few gotchas, such as the router, the backhaul speeds, and who your neighbour is and how they’re streaming on a contender. These variables can affect the quality of the NBN, so it’s really hard for people to understand and to know how to choose services.”

For an easy set-up, Liddell recommends speaking to your local Commander Centre or an IT specialist as a first step, so that an expert can come out and do an assessment of your current site and local cabling and talk to you about the NBN technology options available in your area.

Let someone else take care of the “tough stuff”, he says, and they can guide you through whole the process of updating your service.

“Telco can be a complex part of people’s lives, and it’s our job to remove the complexity so business owners can get back to doing what they want to do. Let us go and have all the little battles and do all of the behind-the-scenes tasks, for NBN or regular services, so that for you it’s nice and simple.”

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