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Australia - National Broadband Network - Digital Economy

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Parallel to the roll out of the national broadband network (NBN) the government also has its National Digital Economy Strategy.Based on the trans-sector model the NBN will become the shared infrastructure for a range of sectors such as e-health, e-education, smart grids, e-government, digital economy, digital media, etc. The first release sites are playing a key role in testing this concept, while at the same time allowing organisations to obtain first-hand experience in building the digital economy.

A new way of thinking will be required to guide us through the next stage of human evolution, and the trans-sector approach to the NBN will be critical infrastructure in this process. In this report we draw attention to the importance of looking across sectors to create synergy.

We are convinced that convergence offers unprecedented opportunities if the NBN is linked to trans-sector innovation, creating a true digital economy. Such a parallel strategy can break through the many silo-based structures that have been created over the last 50 years. And it can break through inflexible vertically-integrated structures that increase costs and impede competition and innovation.

Such an approach will most likely result in economic and social benefits worth many billions of dollars and, as we are already seeing, it will create significant new business opportunities for Australian companies. In healthcare alone there is talk of savings worth more than $10 billion; and $2 billion in smart grid.

This report also discusses a new approach which applies across infrastructure projects, and looks at the potential synergies between the building of roads, sewerage systems and water and gas pipe networks, as well as telecoms and electricity networks.

Education, information and ongoing community engagement are critical in ensuring that the projects receive the widespread support needed to make them successful. Adaptation issues, plus a review of silo-based regulations, funding mechanisms and legal barriers, need to be addressed.

1. Synopsis
2. The issue is the digital economy, not broadband - analysis
3. The impact on the economy
4. National Digital Economy Strategy
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Other specific initiatives
4.3 The Digital Hubs and Digital Enterprise programs
4.3.1 Kiama’s digital economy
4.3.2 Digital Hub Brunswick
4.3.3 Digital Hub Willunga
4.4 Local e-government initiative
4.5 The NBN-Enabled Education and Skills Services program
4.6 Tuition for new migrants using the NBN
4.7 E- health services
4.8 Energy efficiency and sustainability
4.9 Teleworking
4.10 NBN Regional Legal Assistance Program
4.11 High-definition videoconferencing pilot program
5. NBN Art grants
6. Business participation on the NBN
6.1 Broadband – a key digital driver
6.2 Broadband boost
6.3 Network driver
6.4 Utility features
7. More education required to sell the NBN to business users
8. Digital Inclusion
9. Related reports
List of Tables and Exhibits
Table 1 – What does a better broadband service look like?
Table 2 – Will better broadband increase your digital economy participation?
Table 3 – What do you value in a broadband service?
Exhibit 1 – Key applications of a digital economy
Exhibit 2 – Round 1 funding recipients Digital Hubs and Digital Enterprise
Exhibit 3 – Eligible round 2 communities Digital Hubs and Digital Enterprise
Exhibit 4 – Eligible round 3 communities Digital Hubs and Digital Enterprise
Exhibit 5 – Digital local government program projects – round 1
Exhibit 6 - Local councils added to the project in May 2012
Exhibit 7 - Local councils added to the project in July 2012

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