New business growth in NBN-connected areas is double the national average, according to new research.
Research conducted for NBN Co has found more new businesses are springing up in areas where the NBN is available.
According to the research, by data analytics and economics firm AlphaBeta, 5400 new businesses were created in 2017 in NBN-connected areas – double the national average.
This, it says, means the “NBN effect” could contribute to the creation of 80,000 new businesses by 2021.
Combined with new jobs and improved productivity, the research predicts that NBN could boost GDP by up to $10.4 billion.
The research attributes 9700 new digital economy jobs – including programmers, graphic designers and electronic trade workers – to the NBN in 2017, and forecasts this to grow to up to 148,000 by 2021.
In addition, it expects 47,300 additional people to use the network to work from home by the time the rollout is completed in 2021.
“The research shows the impact the NBN access network is already having on Australia's business sector with the nation projected to benefit from its economic return once the rollout is complete in the next three years,” said NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow.
“The NBN access network will provide the digital backbone for Australian businesses and has the potential to change the very nature of our towns and regions by opening up new market opportunities and reducing operational costs.
“We're already seeing promising examples of highly connected regions, such as Mackay in North Queensland, counter industry downturns by creating online start-ups to reach overseas markets, and Gippsland in country Victoria focusing on building a technically skilled workforce to enable future innovation.
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong added: “We hear a lot of stories out there from our members about businesses doing things they couldn't do before once they are connected to the NBN access network.
“With access to fast broadband, businesses now have the confidence to apply new ideas and leverage digital technologies to expand their businesses with the infrastructure in place to support this growth.”