Telstra BigPond has introduced its first Business Internet Centre (BIC).
Launched in its North Sydney store, the centre aims to promote broadband access to under-informed SMEs and build on the success of Telstra's consumer-targeted internet demonstration units (IDU).
BigPond managing director, Justin Milne, said BICs were not a device to combat falling SME market share.
“Our stocks with the SME community have never been higher and we constantly look at how we stand in that community,” he said.
However, with SME broadband penetration rates at 50 per cent, many businesses needed to be educated on the potential of broadband, Milne said.
“There are still many SMEs that are yet to get online,” he said. “DSL broadband is a high touch product which people like to have explained to them. That’s especially true of SMEs who are more likely to buy a higher value plan.”
Telstra has almost 500 IDUs currently in use across the country, Milne said.
These had effectively doubled broadband conversion and sales rates.
The telco hoped similar results would flow from the introduction of the BIC.
“We will take it as it comes, see what the feedback is and what traffic we get first, but we expect to do a similar thing in other high-traffic SME areas across Australia,” he said.
With consumer broadband penetration now sitting at upto 13 per cent, BigPond has also announced a new residential broadband offering.
The new ADSL plan will offer 400MB usage at 512/128Kbps speeds for $39.95 a month to customers who chose to bundle their access, local, long distance and international phone calls.
“With 660 competitors in the Internet space and 300 in the broadband space, pricing is pretty dynamic,” he said. “This will help to keep customers loyal as customers who do bundle their services tend to stay with us for longer.”