Updated: SMBs to ditch business plans in favour of consumer NBN offers?

Small and medium enterprises could increasingly drop their business broadband connections in favour of consumer plans on the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to what is believed to be Australia’s first business NBN customer.

According to Galloway's Pharmacy owner, Stephen Love, who recently signed on as Primus’ first business NBN customer, the NBN could bring both competition and improved services to the small business sector.

“There’s a lot of businesses out there that want the fastest speeds they can get, simple as that, so even if [businesses] aren’t really sure how it’s going to benefit them, I’m sure they will take the quicker speeds and they’re no more expensive than ADSL,” Love told Computerworld Australia.

Previously, the Scottsdale, Tasmania-based pharmacy was operating on a high speed ADSL2+ plan from Telstra, but made the switch to a residential NBN plan with Primus to take advantage of the network's additional speed, Love said.

“I think there’s lots of potential advantages with the extra speed," he said. "There’s lots of applications we use that are fairly intensive, so I’m sure there’ll be some efficiencies in how we operate day-to-day, as well as the potential for new applications that might come on stream."

Love signed up to Primus Telecom's Ultra Fibre Family plan, with 40GB of monthly data quota. The plan enables the pharmacy to operate at a speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 8Mbps upstream - an asymmetric speed which is abnormal for business plans. The plan is bundled with a home phone, and costs Love $79.95 per month.

Primus Telecom is yet to release its business plans.

Love said his pharmacy relied on high speed broadband to link it to Medicare and Centrelink for confirmation of patient entitlements and for payment transactions.

"Every transaction we do in the pharmacy is using the internet for confirmation through those systems and it’s quite important to us that it happens quickly otherwise you’re left waiting," he said. "Even 10-15 seconds waiting for each transaction really interferes with your work flow, so it’s important that it’s seamless and it happens quickly. Speed is pretty important for us on a day-to-day basis.”

The NBN connected Australia’s first customer at the start of July, through ISP, Internode, in Midway Point, one of the first three NBN trial sites in Tasmania.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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