Australia’s NBN Co has announced it will invest up to AUD700 million (USD508 million) over the next three years in what it called a ‘multi-faceted package of initiatives’, with a view to supporting business innovation, productivity and growth.
As its first initiative, the company will create up to 240 ‘Business Fibre Zones’ across the country, including a presence in 85 regional centres. All businesses within these zones will reportedly have access to Enterprise Ethernet at significantly reduced wholesale prices and in total these zones are expected to cover more than 700,000 business premises. NBN Co has already revealed the locations of the first 130 Business Fibre Zones, with these including 61 in regional locations such as Bunbury, Mount Gambier, Devonport, Shepparton, Port Macquarie and Rockhampton.
Meanwhile, the company’s second initiative will see Enterprise Ethernet pricing reduced by up to 67% for those businesses in Business Fibre Zones. Such a move will, NBN Co claims, give thousands of regional businesses access to the same support as businesses in capital city centres, at the same wholesale price. Thirdly, as part of its package of initiatives, the company has allocated AUD50 million over three years to work with local councils and state and territory governments to identify opportunities to extend business-grade services outside of its designated Business Fibre Zones.
As an additional element to its plans, NBN Co has announced that when a retail service provider (RSP) places an order for Enterprise Ethernet, for an estimated 90% of business premises in the National Broadband Network (NBN) footprint, it will not charge the retailer for building the fibre. Further, should an RSP sign up for a three-year Enterprise Ethernet plan, NBN Co has said it will not charge the retailer an up-front connection cost.