Media in Australia: Telecommunications and Broadband

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has been polarising Australians since the project was announced. The expensive infrastructure committed by the Rudd Government elected in late 2007 was, according to Jock Given, an answer to Australia becoming a “broadband backwater” (2010, pp. 109). This means that there aren’t a lot of good things to say about Australia’s current broadband services when compared to other nations. Compared to other countries, Australia’s broadband is slower and pricier, but despite this, there has been plenty of debate on whether the country wants or needs the NBN.

In her journal article, Melissa Gregg talks about one of the first locations in the country to have access to the NBN, in Willunga, South Australia. There was enthusiasm about the project in the rural town, allowing Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to help sell the NBN to the community (2012, pp. 147). There has also been less enthusiastic view, with some in the town believing that the NBN only exists to download media faster (2012, pp. 154). Not everyone agrees that it’s money well spent.

Stephen Long reported “if everything goes to plan, by 2020 some 93 per cent of Australia’s homes and businesses will be linked to a fast, high-capacity broadband network by fibre-optic cable” (ABC, 2011). Long notes that while we don’t know the future, the NBN is upgradable, so it will be ready for whatever broadband speeds are needed for years to come. This makes the NBN a long-term, expensive investment that will pay off once it’s completed.

References

Given, J. (2010), Chapter 6, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Gregg, M. (2012) ‘History in the Making: The NBN Rollout in Willunga, South Australia’, Media International Australia, 143, pp. 146-158.

National Broadband Network, 2011, ABC, viewed 1 October 2012, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/national-broadband-network/>.

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 2 OCTOBER 2012. MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED SLIGHTLY]

This is the seventh of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next  three will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here: https://stefanb33.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/media-in-australia-university-blogs/

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