NBN take up needs to be encouraged if the project is to have the impact the government desires, a Labor backed report has found.
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And high hopes for NBN Labor certainly have.
Minister for Broadband, Steven Conroy’s ‘National Digital Economy Strategy’ released in May expressed the Government’s aim that ‘by 2020, Australia will be one the world’s leading digital economies’ used widespread by public, businesses even in remote locations.
So, they ll have their work cut out to make this digital transformation happen within next 9 years via the National Broadband Network, considering take up has been less than spectacular among the initial roll-out areas, including Tasmania and could have been far higher, the report found.
“Further government action will be required on a broader scale throughout the NBN rollout to achieve the goals that have been identified in the Strategy,” the House of Representatives standing committee on infrastructure and communications final report found.
The Gillard government needs to promote NBN uptake among Australians, business, government organisations and even the elderly, and “develop a comprehensive engagement strategy .. to promote the uptake of broadband and digital technologies during the NBN rollout,” the report states.
Operation NBN take-up must incorporate “a range of approaches” including education, encouraging digital literacy and government must also be seen to be using the network.
The standing committee’s final report into the potential role the NBN, says government must adopt “broadband-enabled technologies” into its own services to help boost NBN “utilisation”.
In addition, there must be a network of public access points connected to NBN services in as many communities as possible across the country.
‘Digital literacy’ and online copyright issues were the other issues that need to be addressed, the report states. On the enterprise front, Conroy and Co must continue to support programs that equip SME’s with the knowledge needed to compete in the digital economy.
The eight person committee chaired by Sharon Bird MP, and consisting of Labor MP’s only, made 16 recommendations in total in relation to the $36bn broadband rollout, which opposition criticised as a “feel good exercise” to help boost support.
The inquiry received 252 submissions in total.
Mr David Buckingham, iiNet, Chief Financial Officer, also argued an national online strategy was required to identify the
goals of the NBN and “change the focus of public debate.”
“We would like to see the debate switching fast to fundamental
questions like: where does Australia wish to be in a global digital economy or does Australia want to create jobs, improve domestic productivity, increase exports and advance its competitive position in a global digital economy?”
“iiNet is a strong supporter of the NBN, but we are also of the opinion that a national online strategy should be a matter of priority and it should be developed in order to give the NBN, government agencies and the economy at large transparency, purpose and direction.”