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Australia: Broadband as electricity

Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, today gives a talk ([Tags: ]‘>transcript here) to the National Press Club in which he outlines the case for treating broadband access as a service as fundamental as electricity. Australia is implementing a national rollout, providing wholesale access to competitive access retailers. They want 90% of the country connected. “Our rollout will start at 100Mbps, but once fibre is distributed, future hardware upgrades can boost speeds even further to 1000Mbps and beyond.” (No mention of Net neutrality or the openness of access; a truly competitive market would help ameliorate some of the need for that.)

Conroy ends his talk with a summary:

Broadband, like electricity in the century past, has the potential to drive innovation, productivity, efficiency and employment across the economy.

It will, over time, influence every activity and process throughout our daily lives.

Broadband will transform health care.

Broadband will revolutionise education.

Broadband will underpin our future carbon constrained economy.

vBroadband will secure our infrastructure investments.

The National Broadband Network will support applications and services in these and other sectors that today we cannot begin to imagine.

And for the first time they will be delivered over a genuinely competitive platform.

It is our responsibility and obligation to ensure that these opportunities are available to future generations of Australians.

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