NBN Co has officially launched its ICT channel, through which resellers, MSPs and vendors can help customers connect to the National Broadband Network.
The network builder announced a pilot of the new program in December last year, supported by Cisco distributor Westcon-Comstor, Computer Troubleshooters Australia, Telstra and Vocus Communications.
The “influencer” program aims to provide ICT consultants with tailored information about the steps businesses need to take when connecting to the NBN, as well as offer a number of support services.
It will allow resellers to respond to customer enquiries about the NBN and refer them to retail service providers (RSPs), such as Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, which will remain the network builder's exclusive route to market.
NBN Co channel chief Keith Masterton said the network builder partners to help it support business customers.
“The key part of what we’re trying to do is drive customer experience outcomes and also to deliver, with the industry, business-grade outcomes for business customers,” he said.
The NBN’s campaign to improve outcomes for business customers follows customers turning to their trusted IT partners for help on troubleshooting connections and NBN migrations performed by outside RSPs.
Resellers have previously told CRN about their desire to retain ownership of customers across IT and telecommunications.
Michael Dowling, national manager for NBN ICT channel pilot partner Computer Troubleshooters, said almost 70 percent of the company’s 60 franchisees had registered for the ICT program during the pilot.
“A lot of them see the NBN as a service they’re going to be asked about when they’re talking to a small business customer,” Dowling said in February. “That then leverages them into a position to be able to sell something, so they see that as an advantage.”
Another reseller that wants to retain visibility across clients' telco investments is Queensland computers Geoff Augutis. “We like control in IT because we know what we do and the way we do it. As soon as you take away control and add a third party, that adds other factors.”
According to NBN Co research, almost 40 percent of non-connected small to medium businesses said they would turn to an ICT professional to ensure a smooth transition to the NBN.
NBN Co hopes to lean on these existing relationship through its ICT channel.
Masterton said the five pillars around the partner program would be: training for individuals and accreditation for organisations; access to important updates and support material; NBN Co support and infrastructure information; lead management support through participating phone and internet providers; and ICT vendor/distributor support.
“I think the overriding objectives of the NBN are around crossing the digital divide. In this case were focused on the business case component of that and to do that properly it needs to engage the industry and that ICT proposing to help businesses digitise and transform and to me that’s really exciting,” Masterton said.
The program will mainly relate to telco bundles leveraging NBN's traffic class 1 and 2 business-grade infrastructure.
Traffic class 1 is NBN's highest-priority traffic class. "It is delivered as a committed information rate with defined latency, jitter and loss characteristics. It is suitable for applications that require highly deterministic traffic parameters, such as voice", according to the network builder's website.
Traffic class 2 provides support for "latency-sensitive, interactive applications such as video conferencing, converged business collaboration, IPTV or gaming".
Masterton said NBN Co was encouraging partners to sign up, and that the company would be prepared to name other partners within weeks of today’s launch.