Fast broadband will improve health, education and the environment, a national think tank was to hear in Brisbane on Monday.
Terry Cutler, chair of the ATC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, said attention should shift from infrastructure to public benefits now that a deal had been struck
with Telstra on the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
On June 20, after protracted talks between the government and Telstra, an $11 billion deal was struck for Australia’s biggest telco to lease its infrastructure to NBN Co, the company that will build and run the network.
Telstra will also be required to decommission its copper network and cable broadband service, and would progressively transfer broadband customers on its copper and cable networks to NBN Co as part of the deal.
Dr Cutler said there is no doubt about the importance of broadband in Australia’s future, but believes it is time for a national strategy.
“The current focus is mostly on rolling it out – there has not been nearly enough emphasis on what we are actually going to do with it,” he said in a statement.
“A nationwide e-health platform would be a huge benefit and give us one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world.
“A second opportunity lies in rethinking how we deliver knowledge to Australians, not just in school but throughout the whole of our lives.
“A third potential use for the network lies in the fast-radiating network of sensors which are reporting all our impacts on the environment.”
Dr Cutler was set to take part in a national roundtable, “Australia’s Broadband Future”, over the next two days. Those attending will nclude ACT Senator Kate Lundy and the Internet Industry Association’s chief executive Peter Coroneos.