Bridging our big broadband gap

By December 9th, 2013

New research report reveals the impact of next generation broadband for Australian households and businesses.

Despite living in the ‘Digital Age’, Australia is currently not prepared to fully take advantage of the services afforded by next generation broadband according to a new groundbreaking research report released today.

Developed by the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation (ACBI) and CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship, the ‘Broadband Impact and Challenges’ report provides fresh insights and evidence to better understand the impact and opportunities offered by next generation broadband as well as advice on the necessary steps needed to mitigate the associated risks. The report was compiled out of key findings from comprehensive community surveys, interviews with businesses and thought leaders as well as detailed analyses of existing data sources and peer-reviewed economic and social research.

“Although we are living in an increasingly ‘Digital Age’ full of smart devices, tele-working and social networks, one in five Australian adults still do not use the internet,” said Colin Griffith, Director of the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation.

Like other major Australian infrastructure projects, the debate around our national broadband infrastructure has predominately focused on cost and scale”

Mr Colin Griffith, Director of the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation

“Recognising that more and more government and business services are delivered online, a key focus of our research is to understand the behaviour and capabilities of adoption and use of next generation broadband. Across the board we have found that giving more people and businesses the skills and confidence to use these broadband services effectively, will not only have a positive impact on their quality of life and business success, but also create broader economic benefits.”

Interviews with industry and government stakeholders cited a lack of certainty about the future rollout of Australia’s broadband infrastructure as being a significant barrier in helping them prepare for the future.

“Like other major Australian infrastructure projects such as the Snowy River Mountain Scheme and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Harbour Bridge, the debate around our national broadband infrastructure has predominately focused on cost and scale. While these are important discussions, our research highlighted that government, industry and the community need to invest in capability building through training and investment programs if we are to fully realise the benefits of next generation broadband,” said Mr Griffith.

The report also includes a number of key insights to help government and businesses prepare for some of the potential threats which next generation broadband may bring.

“Along with its many benefits, next generation broadband will also create challenges for Australia, accelerating disruption to businesses, jobs and services. If we are to mitigate the potential threats than active leadership at all levels of society and across different organisations is needed to ensure that there is strategic investment in capacity building and innovation to help safeguard our digital future,” said Mr Griffith.

“Ultimately, it is the capabilities of every person and business that will determine the overall level of benefit realised for Australia in terms of jobs, improvement in productivity and quality of life.”

The ‘Broadband Impact and Challenges’ report was officially launched to a group of industry and government stakeholders at an event in Sydney this morning.

For more information visit the Broadband Impact and Challenges report.

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Broadband Impact and Challenges (regional)


Dr Colin Griffith: Broadband and digital services offers tremendous opportunities for regional communities to improve health, education, and business opportunities, but there’s also a threat that these communities might miss out on some of these services, that jobs may disappear to other regions, and if the communities aren’t accessing these services to the full extent that will impact on the health and wellbeing of those communities.

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