September 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm #1761Steven WalkerParticipant
Week 7 – Argue a Point of View – The NBN will close the digital divide in Australia
Prelude: Jason Clare Opposition MP for Comminication states ““The NBN is now effectively dead. The Liberal Party is not building a National Broadband Network,they are building a series of different networks with different speeds, different capacities and different technologies.”
The idea of the National Broadband Network was to be the next National Major Infrastructure project for all Australians to benefit from, since its ideation and a huge undertaking by the Rudd Government and promised that it if elected in 2007 they would begin construction on it. It was not until its creation in May 2009 that the official costs and budget estimates were made. Negotiations with Telstra and other Telcos made if a very long and drawn out process for it to be approved. Ulitmately it was for me to be the next generation of “copper wire” or the “next electricity”, the next milestone in moving forward into the 21st Century for all of Australia however this is not so.
The primary reason that the NBN has had so many problems and will not help close the digital divide is the fact that we have to accept the change of Government, Politics has been at the heart of this major National Project. Under the Labor Government from 2007 until September 2013 it was running at a steady pace and the Labor Government assured that all Australians would get Fibre to their houses ensuring a data speed of around 100 Megabytes per second. This all changed when the Liberal Party was elected into Parliament and they sought out at “fixing the budget” which meant that there had to be cost cutting, the NBN was not exempt from this and instead of Fibre to the Home, it was changed to Fibre at the node and this also pushed out the digital divide at least until 2021, this also offers a 75 percent reduction in speed as well. Because from what the liberals have released it shows that the general speed of the NBN will only be 25 Megabytes per second once completed. Eventually we will have to come to a point where we as the Australian people need to stand up and voice about the impact that this divide can have on us. The NBN was to build a bridge from the City to the Country and from the Rich to the Poor (this is my definition of the digital divide). The more formal definition of a digital divide looks at things like the gaps in Generations, Indigenous People and most important Digital Literacy. We have all seen the checkouts at Woolworths and have probably used the self-service machines, however those caught up in the Digital Divide may not use them and are afraid, and this will only get worse if it is not addressed sooner rather than later. This is a similar issue for even kids at school today, for example the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shotern would like to Introduce programming as a mandatory subject for students, this is a very sound policy as the sooner we start the quicker we can “bridge the gap”. Libraries offer courses in how to use computers and technology and others that teach about the internet, as more and more people are driven online, one such example is the current Liberal Governments push to have a one stop shop for all Australian’s to do there Government business on called http://www.mygov.gov.au. The only problem here is from a personal perspective I have seen how the most vulnerable Australians have been isolated because they cannot use the technology to “lodge forms” to Centrelink or have a registered bank account for their medicare rebate to go into after they see a Doctor, there will be a point where there will be less and less physical offices and a higher emphasis on the uptake of digital Government transactions. However the news is not horrific. At least the Government has realised that there is a move away from paper based systems and that the average Australian is demanding faster Internet speeds, the benefits for business will be good with a minor increase in speed. After researching the impacts I also argue that business will also get caught up with a second rate NBN and a digital divide as well as Anthony Starvanos from Sydney states “The Norwest Business Park at Bella Vista is home to many high profile multinational corporations including Woolworths and ResMed as well as thousands of growing SMEs, yet we struggle with slow or inconsistent internet speeds which impact on our local business productivity.”
It is going to take the $35 billion project is the biggest infrastructure project ever seen in Australia. And for arguments sake it has turned into a mess of a system will cost blow out and changes in Government leaving a clear digital divide within Australia until it is “patched” up to what was originally announced by Labor. The benefits for the economy on the original plan long-term would have been great and we may not have to layout physical wires ever again as the advances in technology throughout the 50 years will find ways to increase speeds on the infrastructure that is there, similar to how the original form of broadband ADSL and ADSL + came about.
September 13, 2015 at 6:36 pm #1960Nicole SteerParticipant
Ugh, I hate MyGov as well! It’s appalling to me that this is all being forced online when the people who are more likely to depend on Centrelink – people with disabilities, low-income families and individuals, remote/rural Australians – are the ones who are most likely to not have access to reliable internet in the first place. Even if the NBN does go ahead as is planned – which I doubt, even for a heavily neutered version of what it was going to be in the first place – it won’t reach the people who need it most.
This whole move to online-only government services seems to be like saying “We’re building a well and we expect it to be finished in three years – so we won’t have to worry about where we’ll get our drinking water from until then.”
September 13, 2015 at 7:17 pm #1964Tracey AllenParticipant
I too argued this topic, this week. The more I read the more I was annoyed. I actually tweeted nbn Australia: @NBN_Australia do you have digital literacy programs in place or are you relying on public libraries to “bridge the digital divide”. I was quite surprised that I received a reply. However the reply was very generic: @Angelchick83 Hi, The nbn network is designed to provide all Australians with access to fast internet services: nbn.tm/1ihlZ2M. I’m guessing that the answer was “no”. I wanted to reply back with the link from their website that said that the nbn will provide the “minimum level of internet service“, but I felt sorry for the employee having to spend their day responding to twitter. Hopefully the government will step up and provide more funding for digital literacy programs now that more of the network is being completed.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Tracey Allen.
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