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Wave of small businesses moving online stresses importance of reliable internet services

NBN cover on footpath

One in 5 of the small businesses in a NSW survey have reported they grew their online presence in the last 9 months. If this reflects the actions of small businesses across the state then more than 140,000 small businesses now rely on internet sales to sustain themselves.

NSW Small Business Commissioner Chris Lamont recently told the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN: “Increasingly, the Commission has seen small businesses expand and strengthen their digital capability to explore new markets, work differently or deliver services in new ways.  This appears to have accelerated over the past twelve months in response to the impacts of floods, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The importance of these services to small business has also increased, making any disruption to internet services more impactful and potentially damaging to those businesses and the economy.  This is particularly the case when online sales are more critical to a small business, including peak seasons and trading times and disruptions to normal business, such as recent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In its formal submission to the inquiry, the Commission made four key recommendations:

  • That NBN Co work with retail service providers to develop new and/or review offers catering specifically to the needs of small businesses, guaranteeing minimal downtime and dedicated support.
     
  • Ongoing investment in the NBN, to ensure minimum performance standards continue to improve, slowest performing connections are upgraded and the network keeps pace with the needs and expectations of all businesses, especially those in rural, regional and remote areas.
     
  • Additional promotion and the potential extension of the $150 million NBN COVID-19 Relief and Assistance Package, of which $50 million is earmarked for small and medium businesses.
     
  • That the Business Segment Strategy of NBN Co and associated supporting actions specifically identify measures aimed at addressing the specific needs of Australian small business.
     

You can read the full submission here.

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