Government and industry heavyweights from Australia and South Korea will meet in the Gold Coast next month to swap ideas on broadband deployment.
Organised by the m.Net Corporation – formed by a consortium of organisations with a vested interest in establishing Australia at the forefront of broadband application developments – the Australia-Korea Broadband Summit will be opened by Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.
m.Net has received $9.23 million in funding from the government but said its members had more than matched that total of investment in promoting the advancement of broadband.
m.Net chairman and a member of the Federal Government’s Broadband Advisory Group, Professor Mike Miller, said Australia had much to learn from South Korea in terms of infrastructure roll-out.
It has a population of more than 48 million, about 80 per cent of that in Australia. More than 19 million Koreans access the Internet regularly, there are 15 million wireless subscribers and three million with either ADSL or cable modem subscriptions, according to the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade).
The Federal Government agency credits the country's rapid Internet growth and mass domestic penetration to an extensive roll-out of infrastructure and government subsidies that make access 50 per cent cheaper than in the US.
“South Korea is the international broadband high achiever, having rolled out broadband connections to most households earlier than anyone else,” he said. “However, it has yet to see significant take-up of broadband services in its business community.”
Miller said Korean officials saw a need to stimulate demand through advanced applications and services, which is where Australian developments in fields like telehealth, online education, interactive media, ecommerce and tourism services could play a part.
“These Australian developments are driven by the market rather than by technology, which will be the key to their success,” he claimed.
Confirmed speakers at the summit on May 9 include: Senator Alston; Korean Minister of Information and Communication, Chin Dae-Je; m.Net chairman, Professor Mike Miller; Austrade’s senior trade commissioner for Korea, Elizabeth Masamune; Alcatel director, Geof Heydon.