By now (if you live in Australia) you’ve probably heard about the NBN rollout across Australia. And, if you’re like the average Australian, you’re probably sick and tired of the political fall-out and excuses as a result.
What started as a simple (and very good) idea to improve Australia’s internet infrastructure allowing Australia to move into the future, has by all accounts, been a total stuff up.
The original project cost of $29 billion was upped by $19.5 billion (by way of a loan from the Federal Government), and has now ballooned to over $51 billion. So a tad over budget then.
In its latest plan update, NBN Co. predicted that 80 per cent of Australian homes and businesses would be connected to high-speed broadband by the end of the 2019 financial year. That is actually great progress.
But what a lot of business owners do not yet understand, is that their legacy phone system will no longer work.
A lot of Australian businesses purchased or leased traditional phone systems in the past 15 years. Most of these will stop ringing. 30,000 businesses in Queensland alone will have to replace their business phone system in 2019.
And it’s not a simple matter of getting the IT guy to come around and “fiddle with some knobs”, it’s fundamentally broken – as in “customers will no longer be able to ring your business.”
What is the fundamental problem with the NBN?
To understand the problem, first let’s look at why the Australian Government wants the NBN.
The NBN is a fundamental change or more correctly, an enabler of fundamental change for Australia.
It will improve business efficiencies, collaboration, and customer experiences through a faster, and more reliable internet that is built for the future.
It will enable business productivity because everything will, quite simply, work faster. When things works faster, people find ways to do more. More collaboration, more talking, more applications, more automation, etc. – things just move faster so you can do more.
The NBN therefore is less about high-speed data – it’s more about transforming business and preparing Australia for the future.
OK, so that’s all good. So what is the problem?
Well for small business that have older phone systems, their phone will stop ringing – literally.
The reason is that the NBN removes the old school copper and ISDN lines that provide the voice connectivity traditional business phone systems need.
So who is affected? Any business that has a traditional phone system purchased in the last 10 to 15 years.
If you’ve got phone system hardware in your office, or pay for lines and line features from say Telstra or Optus, etc., then your business may be affected.
How to ensure your business is protected under the NBN
You need to move your business phone system to a VoIP solution – Voice over Internet Protocol.
Don’t panic, it’s easier than it sounds and you probably have already used VoIP in your personal life.
VoIP is basically phone calling over the internet, as opposed to traditional business phones that rely on copper wires and old school hardware.
If you’ve ever used WhatsApp or Skype, you’ve already used VoIP.
However unlike WhatsApp and Skype, business grade VoIP is more reliable, and has features that your business needs, such as auto-attendant answering, custom greetings, call transfers, etc.
The really good news is that there are lots of solutions out there for every kind and size of business.
These include specialist solutions such as Spoke Phone, that is specifically designed for small business.
What to do next?
Then, talk to someone that you trust about what they have done. Next check online reviews before you leap into making changes that could affect your business.
So, check your number below, and get ahead of issues that may see your business lose customers and income.