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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 a holistic view across sectors to create synergy.

We are convinced that convergence offers unprecedented opportunities if the NBN is linked to horizontal 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 $30 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. Strategic Analysis
2.1 Australia’s digital transformation is underway
2.2 The issue is the digital economy, not broadband - analysis
2.3 The impact on the economy
2.4 The thousands of unreported benefits of high-speed infrastructure
3. National Digital Economy Strategy (NDES)
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Other specific initiatives
3.3 Overview of activities mid 2013
3.4 Advancing Australia as a Digital Economy – update to the NDES
3.5 Progress of the program – mid 2013
3.5.1 Kiama’s digital economy
3.5.2 Digital Hub Geraldton
3.5.3 Digital Hub Brunswick
3.5.4 Digital Hub Willunga
3.5.5 Coffs Harbour
3.5.6 Seven digital hubs across Adelaide
3.5.7 NBN training services for Adelaide
3.5.8 NBN training services in Lockyer Valley
3.5.9 NBN training services in Tamworth
3.5.10 NBN training for small businesses in Bendigo
3.6 Local e-government initiative
3.7 The NBN-enabled education and skills services program
3.8 Tuition for new migrants using the NBN
3.9 E- health services
3.10 Seniors
3.10.1 M2 delivers broadband for seniors
3.11 Australian Interactive Games Fund
3.12 Indigenous Communications Program
3.13 Smart home in Armidale
3.14 Energy efficiency and sustainability
3.15 Teleworking
3.15.1 Traffic jams and teleworking
3.15.2 Market survey
3.16 NBN Regional Legal Assistance Program
3.17 High-definition videoconferencing pilot program
3.18 Digital Business Kits for small businesses
4. NBN Art grants
5. Business participation on the NBN - survey
5.1 Broadband – a key digital driver
5.2 Broadband boost
5.3 Network driver
5.4 Utility features
6. Smart Farming
7. SmartICT
8. Sense-T
9. Traffic lights and alarm system go M2M over the NBN
10. More education required to sell the NBN to business users
11. Digital Inclusion
12. Related reports
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 – May 2013

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