How well are we tracking to achieve the original mission of the NBN of ‘Building Broadband For All Australians? Four specialist speakers will canvass many of the issues related to the provision of nationwide services and applications to enhance the lifestyle of the end users. How might we ‘grow’ the number of new customers, and deal with the vexed issues related to those residents currently excluded from broadband? What do systematic field research investigations show about the notion of ‘digital inclusion’ as a measurement of Australia’s digital divide? Do we now need a revamped USO, together with the introduction of an affordable national broadband policy? Have customer pricing policies been a serious bottleneck to improving the rate of NBN related customer service take up – could that be changed for the better? Looking elsewhere, New Zealand has followed a different path to Australia with some notable broadband policy successes. How might we learn from their experiences?
This article summarises the presentation given by the author at the TelSoc NBN Futures forum held in Melbourne on 31 July 2019. The author spoke in favour of retaining NBN Co in public ownership, at least for the medium term and until a long-term plan and evolution pathway has been established. Such a plan is needed to ensure that Australians have affordable access to world’s best broadband service and that delivers social and economic inclusion.
No national goal has been set for how the National Broadband Network should provide competitive advantage for Australian small or medium enterprises (SMEs) participating in the global digital economy. This paper proposes robust national goals for how the NBN should serve both our digital society and our digital economy. From this perspective it considers the merits of merging NBN Co with InfraCo.
On 31 July 2019, TelSoc held an NBN Futures Forum in Melbourne to outline possible future ownership options for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN). The resulting conversation provided a useful insight into the range of social, economic, technical and policy issues that need to be considered in order to reach a balanced and properly informed view on the most appropriate future ownership model for the NBN.
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