MacTel signs AU$1m NBN deal with Regional Australia Bank

MacTel will provide NBN telco and data services to Regional Australia Bank's 32 branches under a three-year deal worth AU$1 million.

Macquarie Telecom has announced signing a AU$1 million three-year deal to deliver business-grade National Broadband Network (NBN) services to Regional Australia Bank, saying it will increase network speeds by up to tenfold for the bank's branches.

Under the deal, MacTel will provide fibre connections for the bank's 32 locations, including in Newcastle, Armidale, Dubbo, Bingara, Narromine, and Merriwa.

According to MacTel, Regional Australia Bank chose its NBN services "primarily to establish a network infrastructure that would future-proof its branches, facilitate high-speed network connectivity in small and rural towns, and improve communication between branches and customers".

"Regional Australia Bank is investing in smarter technology and putting a backbone into regional economies throughout Australia," MacTel group executive Luke Clifton said.

"Historically, this is the kind of deal the bank would have been priced out of because there were no other options in the market. Now we can help Regional Australia Bank and other businesses fix the disparity between what they and their customers need and what their incumbent telcos are giving."

MacTel had announced signing a AU$100 million six-year deal with NBN back in June. Calling the offering "Business class NBN by Macquarie Telecom", MacTel said it will include access to its data, internet, voice, and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) business products; support staff based in Australia; and "coast-to-coast access to all sites in Australia".

Delivering these services will create 50 new jobs at Macquarie Telecom, the telco said, with the product suite utilising NBN's business-grade products such as asymmetrical (TC4), symmetrical (TC2), and enterprise ethernet across a virtual network-to-network (v-NNI) link that allows it to access all NBN points of interconnect.

During its financial results last month, MacTel said it expects its first NBN business customers will commence billing in Q2 of FY19.

"The services offered under this six-year agreement will include dedicated, Australian-based NBN service delivery, assurance, and support staff for Macquarie customers," the telco explained in August.

To support its business-grade offerings, NBN last month also launched a business operations centre aimed at providing dedicated customer support for such users.

The centre, located in Melbourne's Docklands area, will be retail service providers' single point of contact for any issues in connecting business customers, managing service incidents, and restoring faults across NBN services.

NBN additionally said it will be progressively rolling out three new service capabilities over the next few months to its business division: Premium appointments; business-grade workforce training; and enterprise service-delivery management.

"Businesses will be able to select a specific appointment time through their internet provider based on their hours of operation, which aims to increase certainty and reduce disruption to their operations and customers," NBN said.

"Specialist business-grade technicians will be trained and upskilled to work in complex commercial premises to help improve 'right the first time' installations of NBN equipment and the restoration of business services when faults occur on the NBN access network.

"Multi-site migrations to the NBN access network will be simplified for businesses by bringing together the business end customer, relevant internet provider, and NBN Co to plan and deliver a coordinated migration plan."

Read more: Fibre to the curb: How NBN is delivering its new network

NBN will also be launching its enterprise fibre broadband service with symmetrical 1Gbps speeds later this year, and is continuing work on a wholesale business satellite service.

NBN had announced its wholesale business-grade satellite service in May, with the service to make use of underutilised spectrum from its existing satellites when it launches next year.

After signing a AU$184 million 10-year deal with Speedcast in February to work on the delivery of a Sky Muster business service, NBN has said it would have two wholesale category products.

The first, bandwidth services, is "designed for businesses with more complex networking requirements including wide-area network connections to multiple locations", according to NBN executive GM for Access Products Gavin Williams.

Williams said the second product offering, broadband internet, is "designed for businesses requiring more broadband data, higher speeds, and business-grade service levels".

NBN is expecting to launch the service in the first half of 2019, after "extensive consultation" of its potential pricing and products over the next few months.

In February, NBN also announced that Telstra, Vocus, and TPG had begun trialling its NBN enterprise ethernet service, which is aimed at delivering 1Gbps symmetrical speeds to users.

NBN is also planning to introduce tailored pricing on its wholesale business products, including the capped pricing model announced in October last year.

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