$36B NBN To Make Oz Digital Powerhouse But Its A Costly Business

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Australia will be an online force to be reckoned with by 2020, CeBIT conference was told today.

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And it will place down under at the cutting edge of the digital age in 10 years, the minister for Communications and Broadband believes.

And it’s all thanks to the NBN, the $36bn Federal government project bringing high speed broadband to the nation which has just announced a further spend of $60 million plus, part of which will involve $23.8m for buillding of ‘digital communities’ and ‘hubs’ in each of the 40 communities to receive NBN services.

Senator Stephen Conroy, minister for Broadband and Communications was at the CeBIT conference today launching the National Digital Economy Strategy, which he says will help boost the economy and maintain global competitiveness.

It will also transform Oz into an e powerhouse and put us on a global ranking among the top 5 OECD countries in the portion of businesses using online opportunities as well as households that are connected to broadband.

Teleworking is also to become prevalent and at least 12 per cent of Australians may work away from the traditional workplace. Business will also harness the high speed internet to drive productivity improvements and expand their customer base.

But it’s not just business that the NBN will boost. There are tangible social wellbeing benefits – including better access to health and education services, Senator Conroy believes, announcing the allocation of $3.5m for a trial of in-home telehealth services for Australians with diabetes living in Townsville.

90 per cent of high priority consumers will be able to access individual electronic health records and by 2020, 25 per cent of all specialists will be delivering telehealth consultations to remote patients.

The majority of Australian households and businesses will have access to smart technology to better manage their energy use.

“Building the NBN is a key step towards that vision, which has as one of its goals Australia being among the top five OECD countries by 2020 when it comes to the percentage of households connected to broadband at home,” Senator Conroy said.

“By connecting to high-speed broadband, households will benefit through savings generated from time-saving activities such as telecommuting for remote work and study and improved access to business and job opportunities, health, education, social and government services.”

The Federal government is also to provide $12.4m to a Digital Enterprises initiative to SMB’s and not-for-profits “fully utilise” the broadband network in the 40 NBN installed communities.

CeBIT technology conference opened in Sydney today.

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