Local Implementation of a Broadband Network: Social Impact issues of New Broadband Capacity in Australia

Griffith University ePress
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Social Inclusion, 2012, 3 (2), pp. 20 - 39
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In April 2009, the Australian Government announced plans to roll-out the National Broadband Network (NBN) Company Open Access Network in Australia. Australiaâs NBN will bring high speed internet access to areas and people that otherwise would have been without. Predicting consequences (both positive and negative) arising from the NBN, as well as risks and opportunities that it will generate differentially between places, groups and sectors, is inherently uncertain. With little reliable data available on social impacts of NBN-style access at the household and community level, policy-making and regulation risks responding to optimistic speculation and commercially motivated spin rather than carefully weighed evidence. The research reported in this paper aimed to address this gap with a preliminary assessment of the social impacts of the NBN-like broadband roll-out at one New South Wales test site in southwest Sydney. The paper discusses the research methods and findings and frames recommendations for further research to address both limitations that arose in the research reported here, and broader gaps in understanding the social impacts of new forms of broadband access and associated applications. Due to the small sample size, this preliminary report provides details and findings from a scoping research perspective that aims to inform future research in this area.
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