Research by Access Economics for Macquarie Telecom has revealed more than 50 per cent of businesses surveyed expect the National Broadband Network to transform their business with many expecting more competition and uncertainty.
According to the report, around 540 businesses were surveyed across 17 industry groups. One-third of respondents were from professional, scientific and technical services companies while the rest ranged from transport and warehousing firms to media and finance businesses.
While 55 per cent of businesses said the NBN would definitely or likely “enhance their online capabilities”, the survey failed to ask how many expected business to suffer due to the Government’s rollout.
But Access Economics director, Ric Simes, said they were asked about the possible rise in competition.
“They were asked if they expected extra competitors and the answer was generally yes, they expected competition,” he said. “The survey doesn’t go beyond that… with more competitors there will also be more opportunities.
“It’s important that businesses are in a position to respond because their customers are going to be using the new technologies and looking for new suppliers and sources in the market.”
Macquarie Telecom chief executive, David Tudehope, was more direct and said the NBN would leave winners and losers in its wake.
“There are winners and losers in any industry and I guess it will come down to how fast people adapt to change and how fast they innovate,” he said. “Someone who didn’t compete with you in the small business market because it was too expensive to put a branch somewhere can suddenly compete with you and get customers all over Australia.
“We’ve got existing assets, some of which will have life beyond the NBN and some of which will be replaced by the NBN commercially…But realistically you can’t have this sort of change in investment in the country without the reality that some of your assets aren’t going to be of value going forward.”