NBN Co is to establish 240 new Business Fibre Zones over the next three years, spending $700 million along the way.
Carried out in partnership with retail service providers (RSPs), the national broadband builder aims to significantly expand the RSPs' national reach and offer solutions based on wholesale business NBN Enterprise Ethernet services.
The locations of the first 130 NBN Business Fibre Zones will include 61 regional areas such as Bunbury, Mount Gambier, Devonport, Shepparton, Port Macquarie and Rockhampton.
All businesses within these zones will have access to Enterprise Ethernet at significantly reduced wholesale prices. In total, the 240 zones are expected to cover more than 700,000 business premises.
As part of the program, NBN Co has allocated $50 million over three years to work with local councils, state and territory governments to identify opportunities to extend business-grade services outside of the designated zones.
“For the first time, any business in an NBN Business Fibre Zone can get the same premium-grade services and the same wholesale prices as those in the centre of our biggest cities,” NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue said.
“Working with our industry partners, we believe these new initiatives will help open up the market for all internet providers – both existing and new, small and large – driving competition so that businesses can thrive right across Australia.”
Nationally, the fibre zones will include 85 regional centres and 14 of them will be located specifically to underpin existing health precincts – locations with major hospitals, research and education facilities.
As a result, businesses within NBN Business Fibre Zones will see Enterprise Ethernet pricing reduced by up to 67 per cent, NBN Co claimed.
Enterprise Ethernet has options for prioritised traffic, high capacity and symmetrical upload and download wholesale speeds from 10Mbps to close to 1Gbps, as well as support through the business NBN Operations Centre.
Additionally, when an internet retailer places an order for Enterprise Ethernet within the NBN footprint, NBN Co said retailers will not be charged for building the fibre.
If they sign up for a three-year Enterprise Ethernet plan, NBN Co revealed it will not charge the retailer an up-front connection cost.
“Having helped level the playing field for residential internet services with the roll-out of the NBN network, we are now turning our attention to accessibility for our premium-grade business services, helping businesses in regional areas access the benefits of competition, enhanced broadband support services and better wholesale NBN prices for the digital services they need,” Rue said.
“Access to fast, reliable and secure broadband ensures Australian businesses remain competitive, innovative and relevant in today’s global markets. Businesses are the economic engine of the nation, and it’s vitally important that we support Australian companies, in every location, to help them grow and stay competitive.”
Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton said NBN Co's initiatives symbolise the final nail in the coffin for tier one telcos "underserving and overcharging regional Australian businesses".
"The value of our now most important national asset has been proven and then some, and the position we’re in is a complete turnaround from the detrimental journey tier one telcos had us on before the NBN was introduced and executed," he said.
"The planned 6,000 jobs will also bring much needed relief to hard-working Australians stuck in Centrelink queues around the country or worried about joining them. The telco industry should be emboldened by this, and step up its investment in Australia’s recovery and local jobs."
First 130 Business Fibre Zones
NSW: Botany, Gosford, Lake Haven - Wyong, Lane Cove, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Parramatta, Randwick, Marrickville, Double Bay - Rose Bay, Central Coast, Albury / Lavington, Armidale, Ballina, Batemans Bay, Bathurst, Charlestown, Coffs Harbour, Corrimal - Austinmer, Dubbo, Goulburn, Lismore, Maitland, Mudgee, Newcastle CBD, Nowra, Orange, Port Kembla - Warrawong, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Taree, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong, Shoalhaven
ACT: Belconnen, Canberra CBD, Deakin, Phillip, Queanbeyan – Hume
Victoria: Berwick South, Box Hill, Clayton, Collingwood, Dandenong, Mornington, Springvale - Noble Park, Burwood, Chadstone - Oakleigh, Caulfield - Carnegie, St Kilda - Elsternwick, Blackburn - Mitcham, Richmond - Hawthorn, Ararat, Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca, Geelong, Horsham, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, Wodonga, Morwell - Traralgon
Queensland: Annerley, Archerfield, Coorparoo, Darra - Richlands, Eagle Farm, Mount Gravatt, Stafford - Alderley, Tingalpa, Morningside - Lytton, Indooroopilly - Toowong, Bundaberg, Caloundra, Gladstone, Gympie, Mackay, Maroochydore, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Southport, Toowoomba, Townsville area, Wurtulla - Birtinya, Cairns - Port Douglas
Tasmania: Burnie, Devonport, Hobart, Launceston
West Australia: Balcatta, Bassendean, Canning Vale - Riverton, Fremantle, Henderson, Malaga, Mandurah, Midland - Guildford, O'Connor - Murdoch, Osborne Park Industrial, Rockingham, Subiaco - Nedlands - Shenton Park, Wangara, South Perth, Bibra Lake - Coogee, Applecross - Melville, Belmont - Cannington, Albany, Bunbury, Busselton, Geraldton
South Australia: Edinburgh, Hawthorn - Malvern, Hindmarsh, Lonsdale, Melrose Park, Mount Barker, Norwood, Port Adelaide - Gepps Cross, Prospect area, Richmond, Toorak Gardens, Unley - Parkside, Woodville Park, Willunga, Mount Gambier
Northern Territory: Darwin, Palmerston, Casuarina