When the business community started shutting offices and moving their staff to work from home arrangements, one of the biggest concerns was around how the network – and specifically the nbn™ – would handle it.

But much to the disappointment of sceptics, the network has performed extremely well and has been a critical element not just in keeping the economy active, but in giving business owners right across the country the confidence to reinvent themselves.

“What I’m not hearing is people complaining about the network or even slowing down” says Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA). “It’s working, and that is really good news”.

This was a key theme from the third and final instalment in our Small Business Resiliency podcast series, which focused on bandwidth management and nbn™. Luke Power, Cisco Australia and New Zealand Head of Small Business and Distribution, hosted a discussion into how nbn™ has managed the very sudden change to network usage of late, and what it means for small business owners. Special guest Paul Tyler, nbn’s Chief Customer Office for Business was on-hand to share some incredible insights as well as details on the new measures.

Listen to the podcast Bandwidth Management and Support for Remote Working below:

Capability and capacity giving businesses resilience

Predictably, the jump in network demand has been enormous, but the greatest impact for businesses is the 40% increase in the amount of data that retailers can drive onto the nbn™ at no extra cost. This is a great outcome for small businesses and has been imperative to keep businesses operating as smoothly as possible.

“It’s an extraordinary growth in usage on the network” Paul says, “but we are still operating within the headroom we’ve built in”.

And when you think about the fact that the network is 95% complete, with 7 million connections and “an absolute record number of people connecting to it right now”, that’s a massive boost to the capability of businesses right across the country.

That level of coverage and capability that businesses right across the country now enjoy is a critical factor in building business resilience, says Luke Power.  “Because of the confidence small businesses have in nbn™ service we’re seeing them adapt to new and different technology, whether it’s putting VPN tunnels into their environment, or even IP enabled cameras and other devices which help from a security standpoint… This newly found confidence in the service is enabling them to think proactively.”

And according to Luke, there are plenty of ways that businesses can take advantage of the capability of the nbn™ so it translates into performance, from technology to manage and maximise bandwidth, to capitalising on wifi connectivity and avoiding black-spots with mesh networks. “There’s no use having a really good nbn™ service if you’ve got legacy technology”.

The catalyst for business continuity: I.T and network performance

Cisco has had a long-standing relationship with nbn™, working closely to look at how we could provide a really good solution for our customers based on the capability of the network. This started with providing business grade routers, failover when it comes to 3g and 4g, and as Luke puts it, “making sure we can complement the great service of the nbn™ so that our customers can get the most out of their bandwidth”.

Both Cisco and nbn™ are committed to helping small businesses across all industries realise the opportunity they have thanks to a high-performing network to build a resilient and thriving business, despite the challenges.

As a result we are offering a year-long free trial of Meraki, its simple, secure and reliable cloud-based networking for a remote workforce, as well as extended trials of Webex, the Cisco Designed Work From Home bundle, and the Duo authentication system. If you want to know more about how to optimise your IT and network performance, get in touch with one of Cisco’s partners that is also an accredited business nbn™ advisor.

And nbn™ announced a $150 million relief and assistance package, of which approximately a third will be specifically aimed to support small and medium business.

As Paul concludes, “there’s no question that adopting digital platforms is not just healthy for small business, it’s going to become a basic necessity to stay competitive”.

Want to hear more from this series? Check out the full Small Business Resiliency series as we explore more critical topics for small business continuity.