A report that claims a potential boost to GDP of $35-80 billion over 10 years and an additional 70,000 jobs by 2014 through increased spending in smart technology infrastructure has been applauded by Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.
The IBM-commissioned report by think tank, Access Economics, titled The economic benefits of intelligent technologies, found the adoption of smart technologies in electricity, irrigation, health, transport and broadband communications would boost GDP by 1.5 per cent within a few years.
“This research highlights the key economic benefits of investing in the National Broadband Network, including the expected creation of at least 33,000 jobs by 2011,” Conroy said in a written response.
The report’s authors noted there is “insufficient data to accurately quantify the full economic benefits” of high-speed broadband. However, by spending $12.6 billion on a fibre to the node (FTTN) national broadband network (NBN) the Government could get a boost of between $8 and $23 billion to GDP over 10 years along with 33,000 jobs by 2011.
The Access Economics’ report claims while the Government’ proposed $43 billion Fibre to the Home (FTTH) plan would involve greater upfront capital costs, there was potential for greater benefits than a FTTN plan.
“The national broadband network is vital productive economic infrastructure required to ensure Australia continues to grow and prosper into the 21st century,” Conroy said.
“Australia should not be left to fall behind the rest of the world when it comes to high-speed broadband and connected digital technologies.”
In launching the report’s findings, IBM Australia managing director, Glen Boreham, claimed there was a clear need to educate the public about the benefits of plugging into the digital economy.
“That investment the Government made in the budget is the type we have been calling for and we just need more of it,” Boreham said to journalists at a briefing in Sydney.