This paper explores the current needs, challenges and benefits of digital inclusion in Australia, particularly how the concept of social inclusion is evolving with changes in technology and to social structures. This article is a précis of a White Paper commissioned by Telstra. The aim is to advance understanding of digital inclusion and introduce a more refined conceptual framework for defining and addressing digital equality.
In understanding commonalities between minority groups in relation to access and affordability, the paper argues that these can no longer be considered ‘minority’ issues as they affect a significant proportion of the Australian population. Rather, affordability needs to be framed as part of a wider discussion about access and accessibility. Furthermore, notions of access and accessibility should be emphasised and clearly distinguished from mere availability.
Affordability is an important and recurrent issue in telecommunications and the digital economy. this paper considers the current policy impasse, analyses leading directions, and argues for the importance of arriving at a new and unified approach to affordability.
This paper gathers together the basic economic arguments for and against public provision of municipal WiFi. First, we consider what type of economic good WiFi is, and the logic for public rather than market provision. Second, we review four main economic arguments against public WiFi (capitalization; no market failure; competitive distortion; inefficiency of supply side response). Finally, we consider what may be the strongest, yet least made, case for publicly funded municipal WiFi, which is local demand discovery as an implicit subsidy for WiFi entrepreneurship and innovation.
This paper provides an overview of presentations and discussion at the October 2012 “Converging on an NBN Future” symposium held at the University of Canberra. The paper notes the need for increased digital literacy across society, industry and governments. Policy issues are discussed and recommendations made for advancing the NBN.
Much has been written about a reported high cost of the NBN. This paper looks at some of its benefits that are helping to make Tasmania potentially as much a centre of the economic world as London, New York, Sydney or Melbourne.
A brief history of Australian telecommunications initiatives to assist people with major disabilities. Background to the Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize competition. Winners of the 2013 Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize competition.
The New Zealand Government Ultrafast Broadband Initiative has been in progress now for a little over two years. This paper provides a brief review of three of the ways the UFB is being used to enhance the outcomes for business, education and healthcare. Residential take up is slow ...
The results of ACCAN’s 2013 Affordability Forum are provided. A joint ACCAN-Anglicare Victoria research project shows that 6% of Anglicare’s clients in Victoria were deprived of all forms of telecommunications and 45% had only had one form of telecommunication service. A range of affordability policy ideas outlined at the forum are dkiscussed, with an emphasis on reforming the universal service obligation in the era of the national broadband network.
Australia is facing numerous challenges in its attempt to upgrade its telecom infrastructure. This paper summarises the little-known and even less understood history of telecom development in the USA. The authors believe this may provide useful ideas for Australian telecom policy and development that have not yet been considered.