NBN – all it’s cracked up to be?
The NBN is not the only option for internet services, says GEOFF NEATE. He explains how facility managers can reduce complaints about internet building services.
The internet has become an integral part of daily life in Australia, with the average person spending nearly six hours (five hours, 51 minutes, to be exact) online each day. That’s almost as much time as we spend asleep (seven hours). Despite this, many consumers and businesses suffer with sub-par internet, causing complaints about internet services to hit a record high and rising by 28.7 percent this year.
Many have pointed the finger at the Federal Government’s rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), which saw a 203.9 percent rise in complaints between 2016 and 2017, reaching 22,827 in just one year.
For property developers, owners’ corporations and building or facilities managers, poor internet can present a number of issues, from irate residents to poor CCTV (closed circuit television) performance. However, the problem of underperforming internet services is an avoidable one, which starts by exploring your options.
It’s not NBN or nothing
Many people don’t realise that there are alternatives to the NBN, as the Government-owned corporation and its resellers have painted a picture in which they are the only option for internet services. This simply isn’t the case. The NBN is the provider of the network – that is, the physical cables, servers and other technology that allow you to get online, and this is then sold through the resellers that facilities managers engage to provide their internet.
So, it stands to reason that a true alternative is a carrier that has built and manages its own superfast network. There are several such providers in Australia that run their own networks – Spirit, for example – and are able to implement the latest technology, deal with customer enquiries directly and ensure the quality of installation.
Internet solutions should never be one-size-fits-all
This last point is of special importance to facilities managers. No two corporate or residential buildings are built the same, so it makes no sense to attempt a one-size-fits-all solution to internet installation. By using their own technicians, ‘NBN-alternative’ providers are able to deliver a customised approach, working with developers and owners’ corporations to find the best configuration for them. For greenfield sites this can save a developer and residents thousands of dollars across a multi-unit development.
For example, Spirit has built its own network to offer a ‘fit for purpose’ customised approach to residential internet services, which reduces complaints and costs. This allows facilities managers to offer tenants symmetrical, super fast wireless broadband internet. In this context, the term ‘symmetrical’ refers to a service in which uploads for things like storing data on the cloud and working on remote systems are as fast as download speeds for things like streaming, web browsing and installing apps online. This is a key differentiator to the NBN, which suffers with slower upload speeds.
Facilities managers can also benefit from this customised approach with a faster and more streamlined installation process and fast reliable internet that can improve the functionality of Building Management Services (BMS), access controls and CCTV services.
A network for the future
Another consideration when looking at the technology a provider uses is whether it’s future proof, especially as we sit on the verge of introducing 5G, the next standard for internet delivery. The NBN has embraced what it calls a multi-technology mix, which relies on outdated components that will not be compatible with a number of the new 5G technologies. Meanwhile, independent players are already utilising some of these clever devices and are capable of evolving with the times.
Working with a telco that can keep management, tenants and owners connected will save you a lot of time and stress. Customer its customers happy, it won’t keep your residents happy – which means more complaints on your desk.
Whichever provider you choose, don’t buy into the myth that it’s the NBN or nothing. Your residents deserve fast, reliable internet that they don’t need to complain about or, to put it more simply, an internet that will allow each of them to live their digital lives to the full.
Geoff Neate, managing director Spirit Telecom (Spirit), has over 20 years’ experience in the telecoms industry and co-founded Spirit in 2005 with the goal to create an independent telephone company. For more information on Spirit and its range of fixed wireless broadband packages visit www.spirit.com.au.
This was originally published in the Dec/Jan 2019 issue of FM Magazine.
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