The Victorian Government wants to have the best broadband-based economy in Australia, a representative from the state told the National Broadband Conference at the CeBIT Australia trade show yesterday.
“The Victorian Government see its itself as having the opportunity as having most extensive and productive broadband economy in the country and this objective can be achieved by supporting the extensive fiber optic rollout in the state. We will be aiming for greater than 90 percent minimum commitment,” Matthew Dummett, the state’s director of science and technology policy at the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development told the audience.
Dummett’s talk entitled “Building Victoria’s Broadband Capability”, was the last of the talks in the NBN Conference, which included one from NBN Co chief executive officer, Mike Quigley.
“Mike Quigley to Victorian Government is like chocolate to boiled lollies but I’ll try to keep it interesting for you,” the Victorian public servant joked in his opening.
Dummett said ICT was a proven source of productivity for the nation’s economy and that broadband specifically boosted productivity. “Every new business broadband connection in Australia, we believe, adds five thousand dollars per annum to the productivity of that subscriber,” he said.
Dummett said broadband wasn’t just about development but also about meeting some of the social challenges that all state government, commonwealth and local governments face, such as healthcare information, congestion and carbon pollution.
“We have a 20 million dollar collaborative and innovation fund that’s co-funding innovative projects that enable business, government and community organisations to adopt new broadband applications,” he asid.
The public servant said that by 2015 mobile data will grow strongly, with mobile services expected to triple within that time frame to reach 5 million customers. He noted it was important for wireless and satellite overlay services to exist as a backup for fibre connections.
When asked about how the Department will be working with the community, Dummett said it wasn’t doing a lot around managing community expectations at this stage.
“I don’t know if the implications of the roll out strategy study have filtered down down to the state governments … I’m probably on page 150 of the 534 page Implementation Study myself and I’m meant to know about these things,” he said.