There might be heated debate about the best way to go about building the NBN, but all sides of politics agree Australia needs better broadband, says nbn CEO, Bill Morrow, at his National Press Club speech in Canberra.
“My role is very clear and that is to run nbn and deliver on the statement of expectations set by the government, regardless of who is in power. In this role, I am exposed to the different opinions, preferences, and needs expressed by so many.
“I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to the views of ministers, senators, and MPs from all sides of politics, one thing is very clear: every politician, every mayor, every business owner, every householder we talk to understands that Internet connectivity is the key to a new part of our economy that has yet to fully evolve,” he said.
How the NBN gets there and which model is used is hotly debated, but whichever way it goes, Morrow claimed the NBN is an unprecedented challenge in a great number of ways. As an enormous engineering project, it is also re-casting the competitive landscape of one of Australia’s major sectors.
“We’re doing this in a period of exponential technological change. Quite genuinely, we are changing the digital face of a nation," Morrow said.
“In the next five years, every home and business in the country will have access to high speed broadband – and the lion’s share of these will be up and utilising the NBN. That’s eight million families, schools, hospitals and workplaces with a connection."
The mentioned three key benefits of the NBN:
- Broadband it is a vital service in which if everyone is connected, the nation as a whole will better off, both socially and economically. The service should be expected to meet the needs of today and have an evolutionary path to meet that of tomorrow.
- The NBN will close the divide between the city and regional Australia. The historical trend has been towards depopulation of regional areas. People move out of small towns to larger towns and to the big cities because that’s where the jobs are. But when a small country town has telecommunications links as good if not better than a capital city, the need to travel to work lessens.
- The NBN will also help drive retail competition as competition drives innovation and innovation is on the minds of leaders at every level and in every industry. This will present challenges for current businesses, and a playground for businesses to create services, products and jobs.
“It’s clear, politics aside, that to create that demand we need to level the playing field and allow universal access. And this was best achieved through the structural separation of the industry to create a wholesale only provider – nbn.
“Our objective is to enable every Australian to have better broadband by 2020 at the least possible cost- and to do that by whatever means necessary. No-one has dictated that we use one technology or another,” he added.
The NBN currently being built will see the vast majority of Australians connected to at least 50Mbps, with some having potential speeds of up to 1Gbps.
“This is due to new technology that allows us to supercharge our existing infrastructure. These new technologies were not around when nbn was founded, and some are fresh from global R&D labs this year.”
In addition, he said the company will be officially launching its fibre to the node product next week and will blast the first of two nbn satellites – that will beam broadband across remote Australia, transmitting back and forth between 10 ground stations – into space at the end of September.
“We were excited about the recent, final approval for our revised deals with Telstra and Optus. These were the last of the building blocks to fall in place. We are currently in the planning stage for two million FTTN premises, with millions more to come as we head towards the year 2020.
“On September 30, the nbn satellite, named Sky Muster, will be the first of its kind in the world to go into space. It will connect kids to their online schools, connect farms to their export markets, and means a big leap forward in closing the digital divide,” Morrow said.
Three million more jobs are expected to be created by 2030, with growth from both existing occupations and evolving work related to connectivity and innovation.
“What I’m excited about is the potential for the nbn to create a seismic digital eruption – an innovation-led economic impetus that not only helps Australia maintain its high standard of living but enables us to lift it even higher. No-one knows this better than our new prime minister.
“It won’t be without difficultly, but we have seen what an nbn mindset can do to a town or a community, and we are all going to need this mindset if we are make the most of what will be Australia’s broadband network,” he added.