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NBN now in 1/3 of homes, so how are startups going to use it? 5 tech CEOs share


Plagued with delays and budget blow outs, the National Broadband Network (NBN) is now supposedly back on track.

The company behind its rollout, the NBN Co., recently announced its latest milestone: the availability of the NBN to one third of all Australian premises.

At the same time, it faced controversial claims that it would disconnect up to 800,000 homes when households are forced to transition to the new network. It was also reported that a number of small businesses are seeking alternatives to the NBN, given its interrupted and halting roll out.

But despite these ongoing controversies and recent findings that it will cost users up to 20% more, a number of startups and businesses that are still not connected are keen to see it roll out.

Here, five CEOs share their thoughts on the NBN and outline what they could do if their businesses were connected to the service.

Tim Moylan, COO and co-founder at corporate video startup Shootsta

There certainly has been a long wait to see any results from the NBN, and it is good to see them now connecting up to one third of houses in Australia, however it is quite interesting to see that Telstra has just announced a wireless network that is 10x faster than the NBN. If the NBN had rolled out in adequate time the speeds would have been great years ago, but now we see technology advancing so quickly that wireless is overtaking what the NBN has taken so long to deliver.

CEO Mike Pritchett, COO Tim Moylan, Shootsta
CEO Mike Pritchett, COO Tim Moylan, Shootsta

The NBN will make streaming video so much more accessible now, and the uptake of on-demand video services like Netflix will become the norm for watching TV, rather than free to air. Home automation will also be possible with connected applications and video streaming for surveillance and security straight to a person’s smartphone will now be possible.

Producing more video content for on-demand services, including training content and social media content will be important for us now the accessibility of the NBN is rolled out. Consuming video on the couch at home is not going to be a big shift for people, but the amount they consume will drastically increase. As a startup, we may finally see corporates catching up to the norm of staff being able to stream or watch video online, without it breaking the companies internet.

Wade Cawood, CEO at online ticketing and events platform Pulse Global

This is an impressive milestone released by the NBN. Our offices are in inner Sydney, in Bondi, but unfortunately we still aren’t reaping the rewards of the supposedly faster network.

Hopefully the NBN will be a game changer for us, we’re a cloud-based business that operates in eight other countries and as soon as the network gets to us, we’re going to be able to better manage our joint venture overseas operations. Our digital platform operates in eight other countries, where the internet speed and connectivity is considerably faster than here. As a global, online-based company, we’re looking forward to finally being able to manage overseas operations and necessary communications without poor connection and the daily frustrations we currently experience.

CEO Pulse, Wade Cawood
CEO Pulse, Wade Cawood

Better connectivity means we will able to continually maintain consistency across our website: no more lagging, failed site updates that don’t properly correspond with the overseas version and no more dropping out of important video conferences with our overseas counterparts.

I’ve heard mixed reports on its speed and consistency but I’m still hoping NBN Co can get a move on and connect the rest of Australia. The sub par service currently offered here in Australia is almost as embarrassing as the heavy-handed policing of the internet and out-of-touch policy makers.

Michael Jankie, CEO at end-to-end provider of WiFi and marketing for businesses

This is a great milestone for the NBN. As it becomes more and more available we know that our customers, small business operators in Australia, are ready to upgrade to the better service.

While the data for commercial roll-out is not part of this announcement, it’s a good indicator of reach. The primary desire for small to medium business (SMB) is to be able to provide a better experience for their customers and the NBN will provide them with better servicing tools for their customers.

Micheal Jankie
Micheal Jankie

As a provider of WiFi to small business, we are seeing our customers start to increase their speed and data allowances now in response to consumer demand, but most have the limitation of ADSL 2.

The demand for NBN and higher speeds is well and truly here: we have already started to see an increase in SMBs that are switching to direct providers like Spirit Telecoms, who can offer faster than NBN speeds and are providing them today.

Mark Lapins, CEO at IoT startup Quantify Technologies

By not building a truly high speed network with sufficient backhaul and last mile technology to ensure customers can enjoy the full benefits of high speed network access, NBN Co. is hamstringing companies like us that need to reach out to a diverse range of talent to assist in developing our technology.

Truly high speed, 100 meg plus links, would allow us to engage talent as a remote workforce wherever and whenever we need it in a realtime collaborative environment.

Mark Lapins
Mark Lapins

To suggest that all end users need or want is the slowest packages available shows the absolute lack of vision from NBNCo and the Government on the true benefits to Australia that a world class network could provide.

To refer to potential Netflix usage as a yard stick for the performance required by connected customers is an embarrassment.

Considering the limitations of the currently favoured last mile technology in terms of absolute speed and reliability, delivering a truly connected, intelligent home for all customers is going to be severely restricted for the foreseeable future. A full fibre deployment with the additional reliability and future capabilities would have been the superior choice.

William Strange, CEO at GPS tracking technology startup Sports Performance Tracking

For us, efficiency is paramount. Whether it be the sales guys using salesforce and working 10 per cent quicker or the tech guys being able to download/upload their work faster by 10 per cent, it all adds up to a substantial amount over the course of a year.

After speaking to multiple parties that have NBN, we have been advised that fibre cable is still a more consistent internet and so it’s what we are investing our time into. Fibre provide a guarantee 50 mbps upload and download, which will be a great improvement for us.

NBN is a long way behind schedule and it seems that the second this is rolled out to enough ‘offices and houses’, it will be superseded by better and more current technology.

William Strange
William Strange
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