Small businesses optimistic over NBN prospects

More than 50% of SMEs believe the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network will enhance business opportunities, according to a new report.



The Access Economics report, titled Australian Business Expectation for the National Broadband Network, was commissioned by telecommunications company Macquarie Telecom.


A total of 540 Australian businesses were surveyed across 17 industries, with the results highlighting businesses’ belief in the NBN and its ability to change the way they do business.


Most of the respondents were small to medium businesses, with 44% having less than five employees and 38% having a turnover of less than $5 million.


More than half of respondents expect to extend their reach from customer-only or business-only to include both elements as a result of the NBN.


Fifty per cent of the respondents believe the NBN is likely to enable them to offer new products and services, and more than 50% believe they will be able to compete better.


Steven Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, says the NBN will allow Australian businesses to work more efficiently by cutting down on costs and enhancing capabilities.


“It will also open up new opportunities by allowing businesses to reach new markets anywhere in the world,” Conroy says.

According to Access Economics, the NBN is expected to drive productivity gains “of an order of magnitude even greater than those experienced as a result of earlier ICT and broadband innovation.”


“These gains will come from the increased penetration, speed and capacity of the network that will drive advancement in current applications and processes, and the development of new ones,” it says.


“The survey suggests that many businesses… have already identified ways in which the NBN will change their business for the better through new capabilities, products and services, better communications and new employment models.”


“Those at the forefront of technology-driven product development… are able to see more specifically how the NBN will change their business model and drive revenue growth.”


“As the ideas generated by technology leaders begin to filter across the economy, we can expect more Australian companies to understand the potential of the NBN to benefit the way in which they do business.”


“The survey results… give added weight to earlier research into the productivity and economic growth gains to be made from ICT transformations, which suggests that the Australian economy will receive significant impetus from the rollout of the NBN and associated gains in productivity.”


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