Plan now or be a NBN “dinosaur”, AIIA tells business


Australia’s peak technology industry representative body has told Australian businesses to start preparing for the onset of the National Broadband Network or risk being left behind, in the wake of the release yesterday of NBN Co’s business plan outlining the next several decades’ work ahead for the project.

The plan reveals that no less than 1.7 million premises will be connected up to the National Broadband Network over the next three years — with the majority receiving fibre, as opposed to satellite or wireless broadband.

According to the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), which represents technology giants like IBM and Microsoft, as well as smaller local players, businesses should act now to future-proof revenue and ensure competitiveness in the new digital economy being planned.

“With this plan on the ground we can begin the serious work of establishing an environment that will deliver the benefits promised by world-class broadband infrastructure,” said AIIA chief executive Ian Birks in a statement yesterday. “Those benefits will be driven by growth in every sector of the economy.”

The AIIA claimed there were “immediate returns on offer” for “every business” that would only become more powerful with ubiquitous high-speed broadband.

“On the other hand, businesses that delay risk becoming dinosaurs in a digital age,” the group said.

The AIIA was also pleased to see what it said was a commitment to equal pricing for regional and metro areas in the NBN Co business plan, and it noted the 70 percent NBN take-up estimate was a good target.

“A key value of ubiquitous broadband will be achieving critical mass – having whole communities connected and using the infrastructure. This in turn, drives momentum, innovation and demand for smart applications that will benefit both communities and the economy,” said Birks.

Yesterday Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy emphasised that the business plan projected the NBN project was financially viable in its own right, without taking into account any ancillary productivity benefits to the economy.

Birks acknowledged this bit said it needed to be clear that economic growth was the rationale which supported building the NBN. ““It’s about making more money for business. An effective digital economy in Australia will depend on our ability to innovate and create new opportunities through new business models, applications and technologies,” he said.

Image credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, royalty free


  1. And despite this dumb and dumber (sorry I mean Abbott and Turnbull) are still trying to stop the NBN by preaching to the ignorant and techically ignorant.

    I dont want a future PM that thinks wireless is adequate alternative to fibre. Abbott and the fools that follow this are merely ignorant of wireless technology, its maintenance costs and lifecycle costs. Fibre is the best long term future proofed solution hands down.

    • sb, the opposition’s belief that other technologies are a better financial investment is echoed by the world’s most powerful telecommunications owner Carlos Slim Helú (also the world’s richest man).

      Carlos doesn’t suggest that the optical fibre chosen by the NBN isn’t the best technical solution (it is the best technical solution). But he does suggest that a much cheaper solution could achieve a similar result.

      Before anyone suggests Carlos is a “dinosaur” and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about please remember that he got to be the world’s richest person by making astute business decisions in the telecommunications sector. Actually he pretty much made all the best decisions – otherwise he wouldn’t be where he is.

      As for this article – the AIIA have a vested interest in promoting the NBN. Part of their purpose is to promote the adoption of technologies like this. So don’t expect an unbiased opinion from them. They have released a statement without any research backing it up (there is none cited in this article that I can see). They have made hyperbolic claims about a “new digital economy” being planned. Really, planned by whom? And they suggest there are immediate returns available for “every business”. Proof anyone? The move from dialup to ADSL didn’t bring about massive returns to businesses. What evidence do we have that going from ADSL to optic fibre will bring about better returns for businesses.

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