Broadband Services 2015

The Broadband Innovation component has contributed research in the communications-broadband policy domain where large-scale technological (the NBN), economic (broadcasting and the digital economy) and social changes (digital exclusion) are impacting upon all Australians. It has contributed to the mapping, analysing and assessing of various user environments relating to the uptake of broadband in Australia. It has further demonstrated the social, economic and cultural value of digital literacy and user-led innovation.  The Home Internet Project has covered these same themes and aims, but with specific focus on the issues facing residents of remote Indigenous communities. The project has worked with Indigenous stakeholders and provided practical assistance by testing policy alternatives.

The Broadband Innovation component achieved international recognition with its unique analysis of the emerging relationship between high-capacity broadband and the broadcasting industries. It has collaborated with industry, the not-for-profit and community sectors in profiling policy issues regarding broadband and the digital economy. The Home Internet component has built new capacity for interdisciplinary, collaborative research in a difficult-to-research area. The project has brought together expertise from the fields of media and communication studies, Indigenous policy, anthropology and engineering.

2013-14

The Broadband Innovation component explored the potential impact and opportunities of the National Broadband Network for existing television arrangements in Australia in the context of contemporary innovation theories. Three major elements were investigated: analysing the impacts for innovation through over-the-top services; disintermediation and/ or re-intermediation through the NBN-IPTV offering; and potential disruptions to industry arrangements and from changing consumer preferences. Second, following the investigation into broadband affordability in 2012, a successful forum was facilitated in March 2013 exploring current research into digital inclusion and telecommunications affordability, with engagement from the not-for-profit sector, industry, the academy and government departments. Further investigations in 2013 profiled the relationship between technology and people with disability and proposed a shared value framework for Government, business and not-for-profits in addressing the issue of digital exclusion in Australia.

The Home Internet for Remote Communities research team worked across a number of interrelated areas in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of broadband in remote Indigenous communities. Research included the continuation of the policy experiment component of the project in Imangara, Mungalawurru and Kwale Kwale (January-September); structured face-to-face interviews with 87 residents of a larger community that has mobile coverage; interviews with a number of stakeholders in the Barkly region on the issue of cyberbullying; research into surveillance and internet freedoms under the Northern Territory Intervention; and a second evaluation of the One Laptop per Child Australia project as an alternative approach to computer ownership, looking specifically at education and school infrastructure.  

The Broadband Innovation component will complete a final report in early 2014 drawing together results from the major investigations into broadband public policy, services and user environments. The Home Internet Project has been monitoring the transition to (standard consumer) NBN satellite internet plans in the three outstations since September 2013. The results of the research are currently being synthesised, with five journal articles and two reports currently drafted (to be followed by a monograph).

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