NBN Co has launched its long-awaited channel pilot program, with Cisco distributor, Westcon-Comstor, Computer Troubleshooters Australia, Telstra and Vocus Communications jumping on board for the ride.
The move comes roughly a month after the company behind the National Broadband Network (NBN) revealed its plans to launch a pilot channel program before the end of the year in preparation for a full-blown initiative, which is expected to officially launch sometime during the first quarter of 2018.
The new program is intended to give IT providers tailored information about the steps businesses need to take when connecting to the NBN, along with a suite of additional support services to assist with the migration process.
Broadly, the channel program provides training and accreditation for both technology solution providers and consultants that support businesses connecting to the NBN.
“We recognise that connecting a business to the new network may take some time and preparation,” NBN Co channel management general manager, Keith Masterton.
“This new program aims to ensure the [IT] industry is equipped to work with NBN Co and service providers to help businesses migrate their complex services to the [NBN] and make the most out of the benefits it can provide.
“The pilot will enable us to work with a broad range of [IT] professionals to finesse the program and ensure we are getting feedback from them on all the necessary tools, training and information they need to support their clients ahead of the official launch to industry next year.
“The transition to the [NBN] represents a very significant opportunity for the [IT] industry to assist in Australia’s digital transformation by helping businesses take advantage of video conferencing, collaboration and cloud based applications in order to grow and increase productivity."
The training and accreditation component of the program is targeted at online training and assessment to equip solution providers and consultants with an understanding of how to connect to the NBN to address customer needs and concerns.
Meanwhile, the program also includes a central reservoir of knowledge for channel partners via a new portal designed to provide information to participating consultants and solution providers on new technologies, training courses and updates on NBN Co’s wholesale product and rollout updates.
At the same time, the program offers dedicated support to channel partners, including dedicated contact centre support, channel management resources and system architecture advice on the NBN.
Additionally, phone and internet provider support is offered via the program, providing access to participating retailers that can provide pre-sales advice, access to additional business grade solutions and assist with lead management for IT consultants.
For Westcon-Comstor managing director, David Gage, the new cannel program pilot gives the distributor the chance to work together with NBN Co and Cisco to support the development of the new channel in the local market.
“Through the program we hope to be able to equip our partners with knowledge about the [NBN] and enable them to provide digital solutions for their business customers powered by fast broadband,” he said.