The Australian government has touted the National Broadband Network (NBN) as an enabler of cloud computing, but BitCloud CEO Bennett Oprysa has argued that the NBN has, so far, hindered rather than helped the cloud industry.
"From our point of view, the NBN has been a very damaging exercise because as soon as it was announced, what happened was all the telcos stopped developing their own networks or rolling out their own equipment," he said.
Connectivity is patchy across Australia in regional and rural areas, with some locales having limited broadband access. While the NBN aims to provide ubiquitous and affordable high-speed broadband access across Australia, it has halted any upgrades and expansions of existing networks, leaving regional areas underserviced, according to Oprysa.
Cloud providers like BitCloud rely on good connectivity to deliver cloud services to customers, he said.
One of the internet service providers (ISPs) that services BitCloud is AAPT. Oprysa described the ISP as "cheap and nasty", noting that since the NBN was announced, AAPT has been lax in expanding its network and datacentres.
"AAPT was rolling out and adding exchanges to its [network] at a very good rate," he said. "As soon as the NBN was given the go-ahead, it stopped — the company is simply not in agony to add any new datacentres and new capacity.
"It's simply just waiting to be bought out by NBN Co."
Under the NBN plan, the government-owned NBN Co will be the owner of all wholesale broadband infrastructure, and ISPs would only be able to resell the service to customers. Telstra has already promised to decommission its copper network and migrate its residential customers onto the NBN in due course in an AU$11 billion deal with NBN Co. Optus has struck a similar deal worth AU$800 million to migrate its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) customers.
Other ISPs that own their infrastructure are staying put, waiting for NBN Co to offer them a deal.
Oprysa hopes to see the NBN rollout completed soon so that BitCloud can begin to woo customers with offices in remote locations.
"This is something that affects our whole industry," he said.
The NBN has experienced a string of delays as of late, and its fate hangs in the balance, should the opposition be elected at the next election.