We hear a lot about the NBN and know that it’s coming but what does it really mean for us, as consumers and in business? To answer this we need to take a look at why it is being implemented and what the plans are for the future. Enabling and transforming the way businesses and consumers communicate is at the core of Tele2’s values as we share a passion for a dynamic and rapidly advancing industry.
The Government’s decision to invest in the construction of a super fast broadband network is primarily for the following reasons: for nation-building, for productivity and innovation, for education and health services, for connecting regions, for future growth and competitiveness.
The NBN journey commenced in 2009 and since that time, the way that people access the internet and communicate has dramatically changed. In just a few years there has been profound change – mobile services have emerged as an essential communications platform. Australia has embraced mobile technology and this has had a profound impact on our economy. More Australians now access the internet via a mobile device than via fixed devices. This doesn’t mean however that the NBN roll out is a waste of time – with modifications to the NBN’s current activities, a broader range of compelling and exciting outcomes can be delivered for both fixed and mobile telecommunications.
Most consumers now consider mobiles to be their preferred form of communication; smartphones and tablets are now the main way consumers access the internet; and smartphone apps are pervasive and impact every aspect of our work and lives. The mobile revolution is well underway … and the best is yet to come.
Of Australian Internet subscribers in 2012:
- 47% accessed the internet via a mobile phone; and
- 23% accessed the internet via a mobile broadband service
Australia is also witnessing explosive growth in the use of mobile platforms for business. More than 50% of retail, finance and property businesses expect to offer customers a mobile website in the next 3-5 years and 48% of businesses expect to transact with their customers over a mobile application in the next 3-5 years.
This graph produced by Ericsson shows the dramatic increase in global mobile subscriptions and mobile broadband with forecasts for the next three years.
Smartphones are the fastest growing consumer technology ever recorded. Their appeal depends on their constant ability to connect to the Internet. Consumers now have almost the same expectation of constant uninterrupted service for mobile broadband as they do for electricity or plumbing. The smartphone has exploded into the market with astonishing speed and has reached the 50% mark quicker than any other, including both radio and the Internet. The smartphone has been adopted about ten times faster than the original conventional land line telephone and wireless broadband overtook the number of fixed broadband subscriptions in 2008.
As users of smartphones began behaving in new ways, there was a social change and a general shift in the way things are done that created new norms of behaviour and new consumer expectations. The weight of those new expectations among such a large proportion of the population has had a force that businesses and organisations could not afford to ignore. For telecommunications companies, one of the biggest changes in consumer expectations has been about data traffic.
It is now an intrinsic part of the functioning of a smartphone to connect to the Internet and to use apps that depend on transmitting data; whether for sharing photographs on social networks or tracking journeys on GPS. Mobile and Wireless Broadband is the big change factor of the next decade.
The Economist’s economics correspondent Ryan Avent put it well last year: “The potential of the smartphone age is deceptive. We look around and see more people talking on phones in more places and playing Draw Something when they’re bored. This is just the beginning. In time, business models, infrastructure, legal environments, and social norms will evolve, and the world will become a very different and dramatically more productive place.”
Massive reductions in transaction costs inevitably have consequences on the boundaries of firms and on the coordination and organisation of work, as well as making possible new forms of organisation.
Michael Gordon-Smith from McKell Institute comments “More than ever before, data hungry mobile networks rely on fixed infrastructure to support user demand. The NBN fibre optic infrastructure is well placed to play a vital role in enhancing mobile broadband. The fibre network can be used to deploy more ‘micro cells’ that increase capacity in areas where data traffic is high (e.g. shopping centers, schools, cafes, universities and public spaces). This would result in faster and more reliable mobile data performance. This means that the NBN could attract private sector investment and increase mobile coverage to more Australians.
Mobile broadband is now delivering all the disruptive potential of the Internet to anyone, whenever and wherever they want it. In the process it is rapidly making obsolete the core activities or core assets of some firms and providing new opportunities for others.
The shift to mobile devices is clearly seen in the below graph with estimates of massive growth over the next three years.
A forecast by Cisco Systems estimated that demand for mobile data traffic in Australia would grow by a factor of 14 in the next five years from 2011 to 2016. It’s Chief Technology Officer, Padmasree Warrior, suggests “we’ve only just begun to connect the things that can be connected”. She estimates that only 1% of what can be connected in the world is yet connected: “As an industry, it took us about 20 years to connect 1% of the world. And in the next ten years, we believe that number will go up dramatically. We’ll make significant progress in connecting the 99 percent that’s still unconnected. That will be people, that will be devices, and that will be a lot more information on the network.”
It’s not just about connecting the devices onto the network, but how you can use the information that’s being collected to drive better processes, better decision making for businesses, and better lifestyles for users and consumers.
Mobile services rely heavily on fixed line infrastructure to carry traffic from the wireless cell, such as transmission links from a base station, or Wifi in an airport. ‘Convergence’ has been very widely used as a term to describe changes in the communications and media industries.
Smartphones also demonstrate, and accelerate, what is sometimes called ‘fixed-mobile’ or ‘network’ convergence. Smartphones connect users to networks in different ways. They can do it through a mobile phone network. They can also do it through a home or office wireless local network (WLAN). Some 64% of Internet connected houses have Wifi.
It might be accurate to say that for many people now, the biggest value of a fixed network is to connect to mobile devices.
This ‘network convergence’ means that the benefit of Australia’s massive investment in a super fast broadband network is not limited to fixed line services. It may also improve Australia’s capacity to capitalise on the extraordinary potential of wireless broadband.
Mobile access is already a factor that defines the range of opportunities someone has: what they can learn, how and who from; who they can work with, or collaborate in production; what services they can access; what decisions they can be part of; where and how well they can find customers; and what actions they can take – whether involving financial transactions or opening and closing gates.
In addition to mobile services businesses will also see huge benefits of fast, reliable data connections for VOIP and high quality video calls. There will be a greater selection of products to chose from at competitive prices. Cloud technology is the way of the future and with more businesses and consumers utilising the cloud it will be more important than ever to have a fast, reliable data service.
To view the rollout map of where the NBN has been installed and also where the build has commenced, click here.
Established for over two decades, Tele2 is your partner to help you and your business make the most of the NBN. Through our extensive knowledge & experience in the industry, we specialise in tailored communications solutions which streamline processes and enhance the bottom line of your business.
Customers choose Tele2 because we not only have world class technical expertise and experience, but we also offer a consultative and value added partnership approach to everything that we do. By understanding our partners’ strategic goals, Tele2 ensures that business technology solutions are designed, deployed and then managed to deliver optimum levels of service.
Tele2 is an innovator and works with our customers to achieve short to medium term goals, as well as to inspire and deliver a long-term road map to support business growth. We achieve this by offering the following products and services (but not limited to):
- Business Telephone Systems
- VOIP & IP Systems
- Mobile Phones, Tablets & Accessories
- Broadband Solutions
- Wireless Broadband
- Cloud Solutions including Office 365
- Meru Wireless Networks & Products
- Technology Recycling
We can connect you to the latest technology, using the latest and largest network, now and when the NBN is rolled out in your area.
To talk to one of our team members about how we can streamline processes and enhance the bottom line of your business through our communications systems, click here.