Banking on regional Australia with improved internet
For those living in regional, rural and remote Australia, it can be difficult to get access to the same services that are readily available in other parts of the nation.
With its roots in regional New South Wales (NSW) and head office located in Armidale, Regional Australia Bank (RAB) shares a common goal with NBN Co – helping to close the divide between metropolitan and regional Australia.
In some of the regions it serves, RAB faced limited options for telecommunications services – but that was before the rollout of the nbn™ broadband access network.
Opportunities for growth
Rob Hale, Chief Digital Officer at RAB, was keen to investigate how access to new telecommunications infrastructure could benefit these regions with a business nbn™ solution.
“Many of our sites had limited access to telecommunications infrastructure options before the switch. These limitations meant we would have speeds often capped at 1.5 or 2Mbps, making it difficult to provide our regional communities with the same types of services available to their urban-based counterparts,” says Rob.
So, RAB arranged for fibre to be built to 32 locations in regional NSW over the nbn™ broadband access network with the use of nbn™ Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology for business grade network solutions.
“With the rollout of the nbn™ access network, plans powered by business nbn™ have changed what we can afford to provide for our branches across the country [compared to our previous non-fibre solution]^, bringing our regional offices in line with national standards,” says Rob.
For RAB, the availability of plans powered by business nbn™ is reshaping the conversation when it comes to opening new branches and offices.
“With additional options for business grade solutions, it has effectively changed the bank’s view of where we can establish branches and support customers – ultimately benefiting Australians in previously underserved areas,” says Rob.
Beyond the bank itself, the fibre build agreement is helping to make the delivery of a high-speed fibre network to smaller regional towns easier, a situation that will help make it easier for more Australians to benefit from increased connectivity.
Great distances and greater performance
RAB’s facilities are often separated by hundreds of kilometres, meaning the business requires regular communication over great distances through voice or video calls to operate effectively.
“Before our business nbn™ solution, we would regularly receive complaints about the voice or video calls from our staff, most often about dropouts, but those have now greatly reduced,” says Rob.*
“The fibre connection has enabled our service provider to offer connectivity plans with features such as prioritised data.
“This means our service provider is able to deliver a solution that can separate critical data from standard internet data [on the same network]. It gives us the confidence our applications and systems will run the way we need them to.”
For Rob, the most important benefit of improved connectivity is that the bank has been able to continue to invest in services for its customers in regional Australia: the bank’s heartland.
One of RAB's priorities was to enable better, faster and cheaper processes while supporting customers and their communities.
“From a business perspective, we wanted a network solution that could improve productivity. From a community perspective, we wanted to help enable our communities through access to enhanced public internet services in our branches, compared to our previous non-fibre solution.
“For Regional Australia Bank, it’s really important that we have a place for our customers to connect with us and with wider financial services close to home, within their communities.
“When it comes to important conversations, like discussing a home loan, the ability to have a face-to-face conversation with someone you trust is something that can make all the difference to a member’s experience.”
Most importantly, thanks to the availability of plans powered by business nbn™, RAB has been able to improve support for its customers and communities.
“Over time, we expect to see productivity gains and improved employee engagement,” says Rob.
“In many areas today, the possible network solutions limit what our branches can do and what we can do as an organisation.”
Through the improved availability of these services, collectively, Australia is improving access to services that build lives and, in turn, build our nation.
*nbn is very happy with Regional Australia Bank’s experience with the nbn™ broadband access network. Of course, end customer experiences may vary. An end customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ broadband access network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside of nbn’s control (like their equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan, signal reception, or how their provider designs its network).
^nbn is a wholesaler and does not set retail prices. The pricing of business nbn™ solutions is set by service providers and will vary depending on the business nbn™ solution that is available for your business. Ask a service provider about business nbn™ solutions that may be suited to your business. The viewpoints expressed on affordability and cost effectiveness of the customer’s business nbn™ solution are those of the customer i.e. Regional Australia Bank, RAB. They are not nbn’s own views.