As the NBN rollout starts to really ramp up, and businesses in numerous areas are now being forced to transition to the NBN, I have put together some updated thoughts and experiences that Diamond has faced with the NBN over the last 6 months…
Provisioning – don’t leave it to the last minute
So, what should you expect once you decide to transition to the NBN for voice and data? Well, in our experience – a long wait.
I have been in business for over 20 years and have been involved in many ‘service transitions’ during that time (such as dialup modem to ADSL), but I can’t recall any being as poorly implemented than the provisioning of the NBN.
Virtually none of the orders we’ve placed on behalf of our customers have been without incident, from new service orders mysteriously disappearing and being completely lost; to Telstra and NBN address records not matching causing many months delay; through to technicians simply not turning up at the appointed time. To be fair, some services do get provisioned relatively quickly (in just a few weeks), but the clear majority have taken months and in some cases a full 12 months. These problems seem to be impacting businesses far more than residential connections, which does make sense as residences tend to have a single copper line for data and voice, whereas in Fibre to the Node areas, businesses often have numerous copper lines coming into their premise and it therefore requires more technical planning and provisioning to get right.
This brings me to one of my first concerns about the NBN. Many businesses, who have a fast approaching disconnection date for their landline phone and internet service, are leaving the transition to the NBN to the last minute. Transitioning to the NBN is not a trivial matter and requires a significant lead time, which should be carefully planned with your IT and Voice system providers.
Leaving it to the last minute significantly increases your chances of business interruptions and outages, therefore we recommend you order your NBN service at least 3 months before the disconnection date.
It is important to note that once services are in and working, our experience overall has been quite positive. I’m upbeat about the benefits that the NBN brings to business – just make sure you don’t leave it to the last week or two before your disconnection date to put in your NBN order!
Do I need an ‘NBN Ready’ Phone System?
A question that we are asked quite often is – “is my phone system NBN ready, because I have been told that it’s not”. We sometimes get this question from customers whose systems are only a year or two old.
Unfortunately, wherever there is confusion there are dishonest sales people trying to make a buck, and that is certainly the case here.
The majority of phone systems are NBN compatible, even systems that are quite old. While this might seem counter-intuitive, the simple reason for this is that the NBN itself was designed to be backward compatible with older, more basic analogue systems. For those that are technically minded, you could look up IAD or ATA to get a sense of how this works. These devices typically come standard as part of an NBN service. Now of course it is never that simple and if your system is old, you should speak to your Voice Provider to confirm. But do not be fooled by slick sales people telling you your systems are not ‘NBN compatible’. If it happens to be your current Voice Provider telling you this, then perhaps shop around and get some other opinions.
It is important to note at this point, that Telstra recently announced that their digital grade service (known as ISDN) is also going to be disconnected in the coming years, so expect more calls from disreputable companies telling you to buy an ‘NBN ready’ voice system, even if you have ISDN (digital) rather than PSTN (analogue) services.
With that said however, if you do have ISDN services it is important to start planning a transition to VoIP (also known as SIP) now, as you don’t want to leave it to the last minute to make the transition.
Downward pressure on pricing
One of the benefits to businesses that we have seen from the NBN is the downward pressure on other business grade fibre technologies from the major carriers.
"But isn’t the NBN using fibre?” I hear you asking? Well for context, much of Australia will have NBN via Fibre to the Node technology, which means the lead in to your premise is still copper. This is fine for most households and small businesses, but for many medium sized organisations it isn’t comparable to business grade fibre delivered right into your communications room.
Business grade fibre has been available for many years, but up until recently, it was cost prohibitive for most small to medium sized businesses. But with the NBN in full swing, a fast, reliable, very high speed synchronous data connection (including unlimited download usage) is now well under $1,000 per month. Affordable business grade fibre plans open up a range of possibilities for businesses, including cloud services, VoIP services and new mobility options, just to name a few.
How can Diamond help?
If you have any questions about your NBN connections, your Phone System or any aspect of your network’s security, contact us today. We also provide a range of communications services such as Mobile fleet management and Carrier Solutions Support – contact us today on 1300 307 907 or via our online contact form below.
|NBN||National Broadband Network||Australia’s government-run wholesale internet service provider, providing Internet access to end users via Retail Service Providers (RSP)|
|ADSL||Asynchonous Dialer Subscriber Line||ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ are the incumbent broadband technologies, using connections from phone exchanges to end points over existing copper phone pairs. Voice services run parallel to data services|
|VDSL||Very fast Dialer Subscriber Line||Newer technology to ADSL. Speeds up to 4x faster than the fastest ADSL. Voice services run as data services (digital to analog conversion)|
|FTTN||Fibre To The Node||High speed fibre optic is run to the street-side node, shortening the distance from connections from the exchange and providing much greater potential data bandwidth. Connection from the node to the end point is via existing copper telephone cable|
|FTTC||Fibre To The Curb||A further extension of FTTN, where the fibre is run from the node along the street and the copper pair is run only the last few metres from the nearest pit into the premises|
|MPLS||Multi-Protocol Label Switching||MPLS is a method of providing high-quality Internet services. MPLS services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) allow Wide Area Networks (WANs) without having data exit onto the public Internet and require VPNs for privacy/security|
|VPN||Virtual Private Network||A “tunnel” between two Internet connections (usually geographically distant) using encryption to provide data privacy and security|