NBN unveils business pricing bundles

NBN has introduced a series of wholesale discount bundles for its business services.

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) company has revealed its new wholesale business pricing, including bundled discounts, for its fixed-line networks.

The NBN said it will work with industry to release the bundles sometime early next year, with the company saying it now has 500,000 businesses connected to NBN.

The new Business NBN banner will combine high speeds with committed bandwidth and "premium service levels", which NBN chief customer officer for Business Paul Tyler called the most important factors for businesses according to "extensive research".

The bundles include speeds of 50/20Mbps for small businesses; speeds of 100/40Mbps for medium-sized businesses, as well as support for several phone lines; and symmetrical and committed speeds of 20/20Mbps and 100/40Mbps peak rate or symmetrical committed speeds of 50/50Mbps and 250/100Mbps peak rate for "data-intensive and multi-site organisations".

"Each of the discount bundles will include a minimum 12-hour enhanced service level agreement with 24/7 support between NBN Co and retailer as well as bandwidth which incrementally increases with higher bundles," NBN said.

"To help increase service continuity and reduce interruption for businesses, selected wholesale discount bundles will also include the option to install a subsequent line to test critical applications before connecting."

Tyler added that NBN's business-grade satellite solution will launch in 2019, after the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network last month said it is a "matter of urgency" that the product is released.

"The committee notes that NBN has yet to deliver the Sky Muster Business Enterprise Plans sought by large regional and rural agribusinesses, which was promised for December 2017," the committee's second report on the NBN rural and regional rollout said.

"The committee recommends NBN address the release of these plans as a matter of urgency."

The report followed NBN in October flagging that it would have further details on its wholesale business-grade satellite service in the next few months.

The satellite is targeted at agricultural businesses along with the oil, mining, and gas industries, NBN said. The service will make use of underutilised spectrum from its existing satellites when it launches its two wholesale category products in the first half of next year.

The first product, 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".

Across its business products, NBN in October also launched its symmetrical gigabit-speed wholesale enterprise product after consulting and trialling with retail service providers including Telstra, Vocus, and TPG.

"NBN Enterprise Ethernet connections are designed to be built on request and includes a point-to-point fibre connection," NBN said at the time.

"It will be packaged with a premium service-level agreement between NBN Co and retail providers to offer faster resolution of faults and to encourage retailers to offer an increased service experience for mission-critical applications."

After launching a business operations centre aimed at providing dedicated customer support for business users back in August, NBN also announced that it will begin trialling "premium business-grade appointments" to improve appointment time certainty.

NBN's business customer experience, located in Melbourne's Docklands area, serves as the single point of contact for retail service providers in regards to any issues in connecting business customers, managing service incidents, and restoring faults across NBN services.

According to Tyler, the offerings and business operations centre are necessary because "many businesses have mission-critical data requirements".

NBN in June signed a six-year deal with Macquarie Telecom for business services, with the retailer's Business class NBN product offering 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".

The product suite utilises 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.

Tyler said the company is hoping to form similar partnerships with additional providers in future.

MacTel has since signed on Regional Australia Bank for the service.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently also approved a variation to the migration plan that will see an in-train order process providing business services with 170 business days to switch over to the NBN before their legacy services are disconnected.

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