NBN Co sheds light on its ICT partner program

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NBN Co sheds light on its ICT partner program

Nearly two months after launching, NBN Co has shed further light on how its ICT channel partner program will operate, including partner tiers, certification requirements and support from retail service providers (RSPs).

The program went live in April with the goal of providing ICT consultants with the fundamental knowledge to connect businesses to the NBN, including training, marketing and support services.

It's an influencer program that allows resellers to respond to customer enquiries about the NBN and refer them to an RSP. Carriers such as Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus will remain the network builder's exclusive route to market.

One of the benefits of joining the program is support from participating telcos, vendors and distributors.

Cisco, Westcon-Comstor, Computer Troubleshooters Australia, Telstra and Vocus Communications all supported the initial pilot program in December.

The support that certified professionals and accredited business can get from carriers, vendors and distributors is currently "at the discretion of pilot program participants", according to the program guide.

NBN has not yet confirmed which carriers, vendors and distributors will provide support in the full program beyond the pilot.

The program has two main levels, 'certification', which is for individual IT professionals, and 'accreditation', aimed at IT businesses.

Individuals must complete the ICT Channel Program Fundamentals training and assessment program. The certification process teaches IT pros the fundamental aspects of NBN's wholesale and retail model, and can be completed through web-based training in a matter of hours.

Certification gives individuals a raft of benefits, including ongoing training from NBN Co, access to the ICT channel portal, online tools and resources, architecture advice on NBN access network infrastructure, channel management and opportunity support.

IT businesses must employ a minimum number of certified NBN business advisers to earn accreditation, based on the company's overall headcount.

Businesses with up to five staff must employ a single certified NBN business adviser, companies with six to 10 staff require two advisers, 11-20 require three advisers, 21-50 require four advisers, and companies with 50 or more employees need five certified advisers.

NBN Co general manager of business channels Keith Masterton told CRN that the primary benefit of the program was connecting the channel's three key stakeholders: RSPs, vendor/distribution partners and NBN Co itself.

"The beauty of this program is that we are bringing the industry together to support partner engagements with customers," said Masterton.

"We are working with leading vendors and distributors to support their channels and connect them with our retail service providers (phone and internet providers) to provide a complete ICT proposition to their business customers.

"Our objective is to provide a smooth NBN transition experience for customers and to help drive transformation of their business operations through these channel partnerships underpinned by fast broadband access."

The program mainly relates to telco bundles that leverage NBN's traffic class 1, the highest priority, and class 2 business-grade infrastructure to support "latency-sensitive, interactive applications such as video conferencing, converged business collaboration, IPTV or gaming".

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