Parliamentary inquiry urges more government intervention on NBN uptake
A parliamentary inquiry has published a report that has found that more must be done by the Federal Government if the National Broadband Network (NBN) is to experience maximum uptake and usage throughout the country.
The inquiry found the Federal Government must be more proactive in nurturing and growing demand for services and applications that will be provided by the NBN.
The inquiry was tabled by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, who requested that the Committee to inquire into the 'role and potential of the NBN'.
The inquiry made sixteen key recommendations and are as follows:
- That the Government continue to coordinate the implementation of the National Digital Economy Strategy across government, ensuring appropriate regulatory frameworks are in place and promoting a consistent trans-sector approach to supporting its goals
- That the Government require its departments to report against the goals identified in the National Digital Economy Strategy in their annual reports.
- That the Government continues to implement broadband-enabled technologies into its own services and operations as a means of improving efficiency, as well as to encourage NBN uptake and utilisation.
- That the Government continue to support strategically targeted pilot projects in cooperation with relevant industries and communities that model innovative applications of the NBN.
- That the Government consider allocating resources to each Regional Development Australia committee to allow these bodies to provide enhanced local digital economy leadership. This leadership role should include identifying regional goals and implementing related strategies and programs.
- That the Federal Government develop a comprehensive engagement strategy incorporating a range of approaches to promote the uptake of broadband and digital technologies during the NBN rollout.
- That, recognising the important roles of public libraries and community centres, the Federal Government works in an appropriate capacity to implement a network of public access points connected to high speed NBN services in as many communities as possible.
- That the Federal Government, with other organisations as appropriate develop targeted programs for those currently disadvantaged by the digital divide to improve awareness of publicly available high-speed internet facilities, to improve access, and to promote the development of relevant skills.
- That the Government provide continued support for organisations involved in the development of high speed broadband applications.
- That the Government maintains regulatory support to encourage increased levels of research and innovation in the private sector and recognises the NBN’s importance to the realisation of its innovation agenda.
- That the Government develop a strategy for the digitisation of Australia’s culturally and historically significant content
- That the Government facilitate discussions between representatives of key content industries and internet service providers to work towards an agreed framework for minimising online copyright theft.
- That the Government provide further support for digital literacy programs, based on the Broadband for Seniors kiosk model, making use of existing resources such as libraries and not-for-profit groups where possible
- That the Government continue to support programs that equip small and medium enterprises with the knowledge and support they need to compete in the digital economy
- That the Government develop strategies for the collection and provision of data on workforce needs in the ICT sector into the future.
- That the Government develop a long term strategy to up-skill and/or retrain the existing workforce and develop new training programs to address emerging skills gaps.
The full inquiry can be found here