NBN Co has announced it will invest $700 million in a three-year initiative to get more businesses onto its premium fibre network.
The network provider will create up to 240 NBN business fibre zones across Australia, where all businesses within the zones gain access to its Enterprise Ethernet at “significantly reduced” wholesale prices.
The business fibre zones include 85 zones in regional centres and 14 are in places aimed to support existing health precincts – locations which include major hospitals and related research and education facilities.
The network provider announced the locations of the first 130 zones, including 61 regional locations such as Bunbury, Mount Gambier, Devonport, Shepparton, Port Macquarie and Rockhampton.
NBN Co said some 700,000 business premises are set to benefit from the reduced prices, which can go up to a 67 percent reduction, giving regional businesses access to the same support as businesses in capital city centres, at the same wholesale price.
NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue said, “The NBN network exists to help all Australians make the most of the social and economic benefits that fast broadband enables.”
“Having helped level the playing field for residential internet services with the rollout 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 to succeed.”
NBN Co will also spend $50 million over three years to work with local councils and state and territory governments to identify opportunities to extend business-grade services outside the business fibre zones.
Retail service providers (RSPs) also stand to benefit from the investment, with NBN Co no longer charging them for building the fibre when ordering Enterprise Ethernet.
NBN Co chief development officer for regional and remote Gavin Williams said, “Regional communities stand to benefit significantly from increased business potential made possible by digital technologies, including the creation of new businesses, the regional relocation of businesses and access to new opportunities for innovation, productivity and growth.”
“Internet retailers will now have a greatly expanded reach to help enable those opportunities with nbn wholesale premium-grade business solutions, providing new levels of choice and digital capability for businesses across the country.”