Communities to Discuss Broadband
28 November 2005 at 12:11 pm
The Federal Government has released a discussion paper outlining proposals to spend $1 billion on broadband through the Broadband Connect and Clever Networks programs.
The Government says the aim of Broadband Connect and Clever Networks is to deliver innovative, competitive and sustainable broadband solutions for Australians in regional, rural and remote areas.
National broadband usage rates expected to reach 55 per cent by 2009, the $878 million Broadband Connect program is the centrepiece of the Government’s Connect Australia package.
The objective of Broadband Connect is to ensure rural, regional and remote Australians continue to have equitable access to broadband services. Potentially, some 1.6 million homes, small businesses and Not for Profit organisations in rural, regional and remote Australia will benefit.
The Clever Networks program, which complements Broadband Connect, has funding of $113 million to support development and roll-out of new infrastructure, networks and innovative applications to improve delivery of health, education and other essential services in rural, regional and remote areas.
The Government says Clever Networks will combine the successes of the Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund and Demand Aggregation Broker programs with a significant increase in funding to extend coverage and stimulate innovative uses of broadband in the delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia.
For Not for Profits the significant areas of interest within the discussion paper relate to the Clever Networks.
Clever Networks aims to identify areas which are underserved by higher bandwidth infrastructure and to leverage investment from industry and governments at all levels and work actively with local communities to improve broadband infrastructure and services in those areas.
In so doing, the discussion paper says Clever Networks will build on an approach established under the CCIF program, which has demonstrated that broadband infrastructure projects intended initially to improve delivery of health, education and other government services, can also increase broadband availability for regional, rural and remote communities as a whole.
The existing Demand Aggregation Broker (DAB) role includes, state brokers, national Sector brokers for the health and education sectors, and community-based brokers whose area of responsibility can sometimes cover many communities and vast areas.
Overall, Clever Networks aims to increase access to, and effective use of competitive broadband networks in regional, rural and remote communities; focus on the delivery of government services such as, health, education and emergency services; build additional infrastructure to support Broadband Connect in extending the reach of competitive broadband in rural, regional and remote communities; and facilitate sustainable competition.
One of the policy objectives of Clever Networks is assist communities to develop skills and capabilities to realise the social and economic benefits broadband can provide.
Clever Networks will provide funding for deployment of access systems, including wireless broadband and new backbone network capacity, which assists in providing sustainable and competitive broadband services to regional, rural and remote communities.
To download the discussion paper go to: www.dcita.gov.au/tel/broadband_connect/discussion_paper.
Discussion forums are to be held in all capital cities and some major centres from 28 November to 15 December 2005. The closing date for comments and submissions is 18 January 2006.