June 20, 2016

Laurie Patton, Broadband: It’s buggered in the bush

Laurie Patton, CEO of Internet Australia, spoke at the 2016 Broadband for the Bush Forum, highlighting the risks for Australia, of ineffectual infrastructure and compromised services. Concerns that echoed the disillusionment of ‘farmers, welfare agencies, government officials and Indigenous leaders’ expressed at the forum.

Drawing together many of the key issues raised at the Forum, Laurie has published an article ‘Broadband: it’s buggered in the bush’:

“Internet access is not just about people keeping in contact with one another online or watching television. Children struggling to complete distance education with limited download speeds, limited data allowances and frequent service disruptions is but one of the issues facing people living outside the major population centres. Driving hours at a time, often on multiple occasions in the same week, for medical appointments that could very effectively be handled online, via videoconference or remote diagnostic systems, with high speed Internet access also had delegates pleading for action.”

This damning indictment is accompanied by a call-to-arms for Australia’s digital future:

“Internet Australia believes that access to broadband is now an essential service. In the near future, if not already, slow and unreliable broadband access will be next to useless and considered unacceptable.

If Australia has genuine ambitions to become an innovation nation we need to jettison the current NBN strategy and replace it with one fit-for-purpose in the emerging digitally enabled world economy.

If we want to leverage the opportunities afforded by the Internet for social development we need to eliminate the “digital divide” and ensure that everyone has access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband.

And unless we wish to see a two class Australia, with the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ determined by geography we need to be building a better broadband for the bush.”

To read the article in full:

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