Wednesday, 22 July 2020 10:56

Government establishes Broadband Advisory Council to ‘maximise’ economic upside, increased digital connectivity Featured

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher

The Australian Government has established an Australian Broadband Advisory Council to provide it with advice on maximising the “economic upside” of increased digital connectivity for Australian businesses and consumers.

The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher says the Council will provide advice to Government on:

  • ways the NBN and 5G can boost Australia’s economic output
  • opportunities to increase the use of the NBN, 5G and other broadband networks in business
  • financial and cultural/behavioural barriers to using the NBN and 5G, and cost effective strategies to reduce such limitations, and
  • potential implementation, communication and outreach strategies.

Minister Fletcher said Deena Shiff has been appointed Chair of the Council and will be joined by six other eminent Australians with significant digital, technology and business expertise – Dr Bronte Adams AM, Martin Haese, Scott Lorson, Jan Müller, Georgina Somerset AM and Zareh Nalbandian.

Minister Fletcher said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the Council will consider the productivity benefits of 5G technologies as its rollout advances, and the 5G Working Group previously managed by the Department of Communications will be reconstituted as a sub-group of the Council, to provide advice on 5G as a new broadband platform and possible 5G use cases.

The Minister also said the Council will be charged with identifying further ways that digital connectivity can be leveraged to support Australia’s economy, including the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Digital connectivity has been at the centre of people’s lives and livelihoods throughout COVID-19, with businesses and consumers rapidly embracing online means for productivity, connectivity and social cohesion. This was underlined by a recent data showing NBN usage soaring up to 70 per cent during work hours, with 83 per cent of Australians crediting the NBN as being vital for doing their jobs,” Minister Fletcher said.
“We are just getting started with the benefits that fast broadband can provide, and Australia is uniquely placed with the NBN as backbone of the nation’s digital economy.

“Having completed the initial volume build and with the network available to more than 11.7 million homes and business, the NBN is moving into its next phase, and the Broadband Advisory Council will help us to think broadly and boldly about the ways we can maximise the benefits of Australia’s largest infrastructure project and leverage it to drive long-term economic and social benefits across all sectors of the economy.

“I look forward to receiving input from the Council on how to we can leverage the ubiquitous, fast broadband connectivity to stimulate the nation’s productivity, increase opportunities for businesses, and to support social benefits for all Australians.”

Minister Fletcher said the Council is expected to meet three times per year in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and provide recommendations to the Government, and over time, is expected to also look at productivity benefits of 5G as the rollout gains momentum.

The Digital Technology Taskforce is examining how Australia can become a leading digital economy by 2030 with a focus on promoting productivity gains through the take up of digital technology across the whole Australian economy.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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