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Realising the full socio-economic promise of the National Broadband Network in preparing all regions of Australia for participation in the Digital Economy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 10:59 authored by Marcus Bowles
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a significant investment by the Australian Government intended to provide new, universally accessible digital infrastructure that will immediately boost Australia‘s comparative position in the race by nations to compete in the Digital Economy. Domestically the success of this investment will be measured based on both its social and economic contribution to communities, businesses and industries across all regions and locations. Here, investigation is made of international research that, when applied to Australia, will demonstrate that the success of the NBN as an investment is contingent upon advancing beyond Industrial Age thinking and short-term imperatives that have separated economic and social effects to the detriment of important debates on ICT industry development and quality of the broadband connection as distinct from a too-narrow focus on high speed. The investigation shows that the limitations to the current debate may restrict both global and domestic opportunities. As a result the economic cost to Australia could be as much as AUD$12.76 billion per annum to the nation‘s GDP for every 10 per cent of Australians that do not connect to the new high-speed broadband network (Gyarmati et al. 2010: 17-18; Kim, Kelly and Raja 2010: 2). Importantly, however, policy makers need to appreciate that the economic benefits are intertwined with social factors that extend beyond construction of the NBN, to include how to better prepare Australians to adopt and use the network.


Publication title

DEHub Monograph Series 2011






Australian Maritime College



Place of publication

University of New England

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 DEHub

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Communication technologies, systems and services not elsewhere classified

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