Access to fast broadband is helping governments to embrace cloud transformation

nbn is working with service providers to help agencies equitably deliver next-generation services across Australia

‘Cloud-first’ transformation is an increasing part of many government organisations’ agendas, but as online service delivery becomes the new normal many CIOs are realising the need to reassess their telecommunications strategies in order to support their service ambitions. 

In government environments, where the need to deliver services across massive geographic areas is a priority, the wholesale technology infrastructure provided by the nbn™ broadband access network can help to reduce the digital divide.

There is a consistent increasing demand for bandwidth capacity across certain government organisations. Education departments, for example, are aggressively pursuing digital-learning initiatives but often find that the bandwidth provisioned for Internet services to many schools are already saturated with daily use of fixed and mobile services. 

Healthcare organisations are working to facilitate seamless exchange of diagnostic imaging and increased video telemedicine, but often find that hospitals’ legacy telecommunications services simply can’t provide the service capabilities required to make this happen.

Whenever and wherever this happens, government organisations seek to provide consistent and predictable services – and citizens expect them to do so in a cost effective and responsible manner. 

“Infrastructure is increasingly important in enabling cloud-first strategies, but many legacy environments have applications that were written 40 years ago and were not always designed to run in this environment,” says Michael Grantham, general manager of government industry engagement with nbn.

 “As more and more agencies put their services online, it can place a strain on their back-end services. The last thing you want is to not be able to make contact with the people that need your services.” 

Targeted service delivery with business nbn™ 

Given the importance of a robust telecommunications infrastructure to government bodies at all levels, nbn has been working with government bodies to help educate them about the expanding footprint of the nbn™ access network and wholesale products and services available that may address this issue.

“A lot of organisations have been adopting services and strategies that can’t be consistently implemented across the organisation because they don’t always have the bandwidth and service capabilities,” Grantham says. “The whole concept of having many users in each location, is very important for these organisations to be able to implement their strategies.” 

Many schools, for example, are looking for a way to boost their services from 10Mbps to 500Mbps or more in order to keep ahead of surging demand. Australian service provider TasmaNet recently became one of the first providers in Australia to deliver nbn’s new wholesale, up to one gigabit symmetrical broadband service* – business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet – delivered to St Michael’s Collegiate School in Hobart. business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet was launched to retailers in 2018 with connections to be built on request using a dedicated fibre connection extended from a fibre access node on our transit network into the end user’s premise. 

Similar changes across every industry is growing demand dramatically as government agencies continue to drive their transformation using the cloud: Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) has predicted that the average volume of Internet traffic per Asia-Pacific user will increase from 20GB per month in 2017, to 69GB per month in 2022.

According to the VNI, the proportion of traffic that is video will increase from 68 percent in 2017, to 82 percent by 2022 – reflecting not only growing demand for home-centric video-on-demand services, but increasing use of education, health, and other government services including rich online collaboration, telemedicine, interactive distance learning, and more.

Ensuring that agencies’ infrastructure is ready for next-generation applications is about more than just download and upload speeds: cloud architectures are based around a fundamentally different telecommunications environment where real-time exchange and collaboration require low-latency, high-availability communications. 

The recent launch of business nbn™ services has been a significant step in this direction, complementing conventional residential nbn™ services over the nbn™ access network with additional support resources available through phone and internet providers, designed specifically to help business and government organisations make the most of their services.

 As well as offering business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet wholesale speeds of up to 1Gbps* and dedicated wholesale traffic classes to prioritise certain data, business nbn™ services have the option to include wholesale enhanced Service Level Agreements (eSLAs) that may reduce wholesale incident response times between nbn and a service provider to as little as 4 hours if a site visit isn’t required. 

business nbn™’s wholesale products and service offerings will soon be expanded further with business nbn™ Satellite Service, a new offering that will bring service predictability and performance to rural and regional areas. These are geographical areas where government agencies have an unparalleled need to deliver services – and can benefitfrom digital engagement when it is backed by this communications infrastructure. 

Working to educate government partners 

Even as it builds out its range of wholesale business services and support capabilities, nbn has been working closely with the service providers that will leverage those services into broader capabilities, using cutting-edge applications and devices to deliver new services in new ways. 

Government buying cycles can be long and cyclical, so it’s important that service providers and their government customers consider their infrastructure modernisation strategy early enough to build them into the next buying cycle.

This also includes a strategy for addressing affected Special Services^ including legacy wide-area network (WAN) technologies and copper-dependent services supporting medical alarms, fire alarms, lift phones, and other non-conventional legacy services. 

nbn has been working with service providers to plan migration of data services and affected Special Services^, as well as to get a better picture of future demand that will guide the ongoing rollout into the future. 

We have also been working to help educate governments about new and more efficient network architectures – simplifying designs by leveraging services like business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet through service providers to direct traffic internally to a central data centre. 

Wherever digital transformation takes the government, nbn will be there to help support the change with effective, scalable and reliable solutions that help deliver the promise of cloud-based digital transformation. 

“We are seeing organisations move to the nbn™ access network now, and as they see what else they can do it really opens up opportunities for them to use more bandwidth,” Grantham says. “That’s why government agencies are concerned about making sure they future proof their networks. CIOs across government should be considering what their nbn™ strategy is – and we are more than willing to help make sure they are ready to get the most out of the nbn™ access network alongside our retail service providers.”

 * Regardless of the retail service you purchase, the actual wholesale speeds delivered by the business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet product will be less than 1000 Mbps due to equipment and network limitations. Your experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ access network, depends on some factors outside our control (like your equipment quality, software, and how your service provider designs its network). If your service provider has not selected a bandwidth in the highest of three classes of service available for business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet, the speeds you experience may be affected by contention on the nbn™ network, particularly in busy periods.

^ Disconnection dates vary and not all Special Services will be disconnected – whether a service will be disconnected, and the timing of disconnection will depend on factors including the type of Special Service, when the nbn™ broadband access network is available, which nbn™ access technology is available and whether Telstra has issued a BAU product exit in respect of a Special Service. To find out if your services will be affected, and applicable disconnection dates, contact your phone or internet service provider.

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