NBN pilots ICT partner program for channel

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NBN pilots ICT partner program for channel

NBN Co is launching a series of updates to spur midmarket and enterprise users to migrate to the national broadband network, including a program aimed at the ICT channel.

The new partner program will offer "training and accreditation for technology providers and consultants to educate business customers about what they need to do to connect to the new network as well as information on applications which can support their business over fast broadband".

NBN Co announced further improvement targeting the business sector. These include:

  • Dedicated case management.  NBN Co will establish enterprise engagement teams and field technicians to work closely with telcos and ISPs "to ensure a smooth transition", particularly for moving special services such as Ethernet Lite and ISDN to the new network. "Complex and multi-site migrations will be project managed between NBN Co and the service provider," the company said in a statement.
  • Enterprise Ethernet product. NBN Co will accelerate the launch of a wholesale direct fibre broadband product "to provide access to enterprise-grade high bandwidth, which is designed to achieve symmetrical speeds of up to 1Gbps as well as increased operational support". This is scheduled to be in market by the end of 2018, following the first stage of a trial to commence later this month.
  • Tailored pricing. This new "capped pricing model" aims to increase the flexibility on NBN Co’s wholesale business products.

John Simon, NBN Co chief customer officer, Business, said the network builder was now looking beyond residential customers and SMBs.

"As we increasingly move into metro areas we are accelerating the development of our wholesale product suite to meet the needs of enterprise and government businesses.

“We recognise larger organisations require a dedicated support team, which is why we’re scaling up and working with our partners to deliver the types of services these businesses expect with minimal disruption to their organisation."

Partner program

NBN Co would not be drawn on further detail of the ICT program, other than to say a pilot program would commence before the end of the year with the program set to officially launch in the first quarter of 2018.

The network builder has been quietly spinning up a partner organisation this year, first scouting for an ICT channel engagement manager earlier this year, and more recently hiring for two further roles, an ICT channel manager and ICT channel program manager, with the common aim to strengthen NBN Co’s ties to vendors, distributors and partners.

In August, NBN Co appointed Keith Masterton as executive manager, ICT channel development. Masterton had spent 26 years at Telstra.

The NBN is already resold by many telecommunications providers, including tier-one companies such as Telstra, TPG and Optus, as well as many smaller retailer service providers (RSP).

Sales via large telcos represent a massive amount of NBN's market share – CRN's sister title, iTnews, estimated that Telstra, Optus, TPG and Vocus owned 87.42 percent of all active NBN connections.

Those same carriers also have their own fibre in competition with NBN.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission last week announced a public inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards with a view to probe whether the quality of service being delivered is appropriate or requires greater regulatory intervention. 

The announcement followed a damning report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, which revealed an almost 160 percent increase in NBN related consumer complaints in the past year. Most of the grievances surrounded delays in connections, missed appointments and fault rectification.

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