SYDNEY - The future of Australia's National Broadband Network is very much up in the air, with the Coalition proposing a radically different - and slower - network than the one the Labor Government has begun constructing - but whichever way it goes, few Australian businesses are prepared to deal with it, a Deloitte report has found.
Three out of four Aussie businesses expect the NBN to dramatically change the way they do business - but only one in four believes they are ready to deal with the changes, according to the report, prepared for Macquarie Telecom.
MacTel's Chris Greig and Deloitte partner Ric Simes presented the NBN Business Readiness Survey at a media lunch at Sydney's Aria Restaurant yesterday.
Major findings, according to Simes, are that the NBN will boost teleworking far more than previously thought; some 50 percent of businesses expect massive change, for instance increasing their ability to operate in new geographic markets or target new customers; but a huge gap exists between these business expectations and readiness levels.
On teleworking some 49 percent of the 107 respondents expect this to increase hugely - but only 34 percent felt their systems and apps were up to the job; 74 percent had no teleworking policy; and 68 percent said they did not feel ready to manage a remote workforce.
The situation differs from the US experience, where large companies such as Google and Yahoo are now totally banning telework on the grounds that it precludes group discussions and new ideas.
Simes told the press this attitude was more prevalent in the bigger Silicon Valley companies, and might not be so pertinent to Australia.Greig's summing up:
"The time for fence-sitting about the NBN's effects is over; what's needed now is urgency of planning and execution."Businesses must make the NBN a matter of boardroom discussion and take immediate steps to ready their technologies and policies."