Australia is in a unique position to benefit from two infrastructure projects that are being developed simultaneously. NBN Co is currently rolling out the government-initiated National Broadband Network and it also has a clear policy known as Digital Productivity, where the government is taking a leadership role in ensuring that other government sectors use this infrastructure for the delivery of trans-sector services (e-health, e-education, smart grids, etc).
The government has also developed a policy for the national rollout of smart grids; its demonstration project was launched in late 2010.
Smart Grid Australia and NBN Co are working together to investigate synergies between these two infrastructure projects and a preliminary report mentions possible savings of $2 billion if the projects can be aligned. Special access is provided in the NBN Bill for utilities.
Progress on the issue has been slow. Increased awareness regarding the trans-sector use of the NBN might see an increase of activity with some initial pilot programmes. However, a total review is expected under the revised NBN policies of the new government.