NBN law stalls cloud for small business

Summary:Anti-cherry-picking provisions in the National Broadband Network (NBN) legislation will prevent many small businesses from accessing cloud services until 2020, datacentre provider NextDC chief Bevan Slattery has warned.

Anti-cherry-picking provisions in the National Broadband Network (NBN) legislation will prevent many small businesses from accessing cloud services until 2020, datacentre provider NextDC chief Bevan Slattery has warned.

NBN legislation that passed the parliament yesterday evening placed restrictions on fibre network providers from offering services on their networks to residential customers and small businesses unless they offered open access layer 2 wholesale services at the same price that NBN Co offers.

Long-time critic of the government's $37.5 billion project, NextDC founder Bevan Slattery, said that cloud services are growing exponentially but would be limited in Australia thanks to the restrictions placed on fibre providers by the legislation.

"No fibre provider can offer a service to an organisation of less than 15 people," he told an industry audience at the Communications Day Summit in Sydney today. "Actually, you're not even allowed to offer a service over copper if the service is able to go beyond 24 megabits [per second]."

Slattery said the government has effectively prevented small businesses from accessing the cloud for the next nine years, unless they already had access to a fibre service prior to the legislation passing.

"How dare you discriminate all the small businesses — the major employer in this country [and] the people that need outsourced cloud services in this country more than anyone — restrict them from getting the service they're entitled to get?" he said.

"I think it's disgraceful."

Slattery said NextDC would potentially be one of the businesses affected by this provision but revealed he had a way around it.

"Fortunately for me, I'm going to hire one more person so I can actually get a fibre service delivered to my door." NextDC has 14 employees.

Topics: Cloud, Broadband, NBN

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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