Monday, 25 November 2013 00:40

Lifting the veil on the NBN as industry initiative launched


Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure industry has banded together to launch a new initiative to address what it says is the problem of ‘public confusion’ about what to do to make the most of the NBN at home.

The broad alliance of industry bodies and telecommunications providers came together in Melbourne to announce their initiative and to launch a new website – ‘You’ve Got the NBN, But What Then? – which is designed to provide consumers – and the industry itself -  with information and expert advice about their NBN home connections and “how to make sure technology works the way it’s meant to at home.”

The initiative is backed by NBN Co and the Australian Communication & Media Authority (ACMA) which hosted the announcement at its Melbourne headquarters.

Launch of the website follows extensive research commissioned by the International Copper Association Australia, and undertaken by Connection Research, which found that Australians are “confused about what to do to make the most of the NBN at home.”

The association CEO Ian Milner told industry representatives at the launch that research of about 1,000 households showed they had “little or no idea” of what the NBN meant and “when it would run by their homes.”

Milner said the website was designed to deliver a “clear, simple message” to consumers about the NBN and to assist them in finding a cabler.

As well as providing information and assistance to consumers, the initiative also involves the development of marketing materials for cablers to use in dealing with consumers.

Milner said the launch of the website and associated activities was a “great example of government and industry working together.”

The site provides advice on:

•    What to do when the NBN is installed to an existing home

•    How to prepare a new home for cost-effective and reliable broadband

•    Technology options available to consumers at home

•    How to find qualified cabling and telecommunications infrastructure providers

•    What services cabler & infrastructure professionals can provide

In a statement about the initiative, the alliance stresses that NBN fibre - “whether it goes to the side of the house of just the node down the street – is only part of delivering a “great experience at home” and warns that with the wrong infrastructure inside the house “broadband could drop to a trickle.

“That last 10-odd meters from the NBN box to PCs, Smart TVs, IP cameras or media servers is often overlooked, but it’s crucial to whether the user experience is better or worse with the NBN,” Paul Stathis, CEO of BICSI and Chair of the Australian Registered Cablers Consortium, said.

“Research by the International Copper Association Australia shows the public is confused about what to do to make the most of the NBN at home, but they also say they’re keen on technology and want advice they can trust.”

Steve O’Sullivan from Melbourne based home automation & cabling company, Argus Technologies, agrees, saying that “wiring a home for fast broadband and all the technology that goes with it is absolutely crucial and will soon be just as standard as electricity or plumbing.”

Of households researched just under one third (28.2%) were from Sydney or Melbourne, with another 21.9% from other metropolitan areas. Just over a quarter, or 27.7%, were from regional NSW or Victoria, and another 22.2% from other regional areas.

According to the research, the vast majority of respondents - 77.0% - don’t know when the NBN will be connected to their house, only 2.2% say they are already connected, 4.4% say they will be connected by the end of this year, 5.8% in 2014 or 2015, and 7.3% after 2015.

And, a small number of households surveyed - 3.5% - say they will never be connected to the NBN.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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