Do you really want the NBN?

Small-biz_logoIf deciding which party to pick next Saturday was simply governed by whether ‘home-based’ businesses in the Wollongong area would secure the NBN or not … it would seem a fairly straightforward decision.

Certainly we should all get down on our knees and thank the present government for breaking the Telstra monopoly and getting the massive infrastructure project off the ground in the first place, and we should also not forget the Coalition had been trying for years to do this without any success.

But does that mean a vote for the ALP is our only hope of actually getting the precious fibre connection to our homes?

Not according to opposition spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull who maintains home businesses will still be able to replace the existing copper connection from the (fibre to the node) street cabinet to your home at some yet to be confirmed time in the future.

Supposedly, an upfront user contribution of $5,000 will be required under an Abbott-led government, and while $5,000 may not sound a lot to the fat cats in Canberra and Sydney, for many home-based businesses in our region that may be an insurmountable hurdle.

There has been much talk about the need for a SME-led recovery see my From the Editor column and if the Coalition think they are actually going to help SMEs to get ahead they should remember that when people are just starting out in business they need every bit of help they can get. And conserving cash is a top priority.

I am aware there has been some talk at the top end of town that the Coalition will likely leave most of the current NBN plans in place if they assume office … presumably on the basis that they will claim (surprise, surprise) the present government’s plans are too far advanced and, in any event, it would cost the country more to stop construction than it would to simply keep going.

Sounds plausible, and I must say this rumour/story has an authentic ring to it, but clearly it will be impossible to verify before the election is decided.

The timing for the NBN rollout (as it stands) is also a bit of a worry if you don’t live in the CBD, a new subdivision, or Kiama and until I checked online for this post I had not realised it could actually take till June 2017 for the fibre to finally reach me in Cordeaux Heights.

In conclusion, small business owner, if you 100% want the NBN delivered to your home, the ALP are definitely the ones to support on Saturday.

But even if Labor don’t hang on … you might still be in luck!

EDITOR – Andrew M Connery: A pioneer in social media and active online since early 2001 heads up the Editorial team. Andrew is currently undertaking doctoral research at the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Wollongong. A B2B marketing practitioner by profession his specialty area is local search and until July 2011 he was a Senior Trainer for the Federal Government’s Small Business Online program.


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