Australia leading the world in commitment to rural broadband
Double the investment in rural and remote broadband
It’s not hard to understand why the financial commitment required in Australia is higher. Of all the countries surveyed, Australia has the lowest population density over its arable land.
To help ensure its minimum wholesale speed target is hit, nbn has opted for the use of two high throughput satellites and a fixed wireless service.
In all 29 per cent of Australia’s population lives outside of the major cities, and these homes and businesses will be serviced by access to Fixed Line (62 per cent), Fixed Wireless (19 per cent) and Satellite (12 per cent). Together they form the nbn™ network using a globally unique Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) strategy.
Making rural and remote broadband a priority
With 86 per cent of Australian homes connected to some form of internet, not to mention 4G and 3G networks, nbn initially prioritised rural and remote citizens with limited or no current service to bridge the digital divide between urban and regional areas.
While nbn aims to allow all Australians to make use of the benefits greater access to fast internet provides, the decision was made to ensure those without acceptable connection capability were granted access to services over the nbn™ network earliest.
The nbn™ Fixed Wireless network alone has already passed the milestone of 500,000 homes and businesses ready for service (RFS), with the ultimate goal of providing access to 600,000 remote and rural premises by 2020.
This commitment garnered specific mention in the Ovum report. It declared, “unlike other countries, regional areas have been prioritised for funding and access, rather than left to later stages of the national deployment plan. This is despite Australia’s large geography and low population density.”
It’s also important to note that, despite the challenging logistics of servicing rural and remote Australians with access to fast internet, the nbn™ network is designed so that the price to the end user of connecting to services is similar to that of urban Australians.1
Servicing the “last 5 per cent” with fast internet
While opting for tip-of-the-spear technology has increased the required investment, it’s also what’s driven the nbn™ network into a world leading position.
When Ovum looked deeper into how other nations are servicing their rural and remote citizens – the so-called “last 5 per cent” – the efforts of nbn to include all Australian premises becomes evident. In New Zealand, the last 2.5 per cent of premises were left out of the network altogether. In the UK, the last 5 per cent were left off. In Canada, it’s 10 per cent. In Ireland it’s 23 per cent.
The USA is seeking to deliver a low-speed network to its remaining 4 per cent of premises to achieve coverage like Australia. However, the country’s leaders are giving themselves six more years to do it. And, as mentioned, they’ve set a minimum speed requirement roughly a third of what nbn has set.
Australia’s rural and remote population is responding to this effort, too. Over 1.2 million active services are already live, with regional Australians accounting for 60 per cent of all active users on services over the nbn™ network.
The land of opportunity
Australia has always been considered a land of opportunity, and in the modern, digital age, it’s the nbn™ network that will help ensure such a statement proves correct.
There are quality of life improvements that shouldn’t be ignored, including being able to connect with friends and family, shop online, browse for information and be entertained by video and music streaming services. However, the big opportunities come in education, health and business.
Access to fast internet allows rural and remote Australians to connect with urban centres around the country – and the world – from their homes or business. They can be involved in the latest and greatest education opportunities and engage with health professionals without being hampered by geographical boundaries.1
Meanwhile, businesses and entrepreneurs are granted the opportunity to go Glocal. Go global, while staying local. The ability to connect with colleagues and peers in any industry, distribute and market products to any location, and be reactive to trends and consumer demands instantly, becomes possible.
The Ovum report states that nbn’s commitment to delivering broadband “has far exceeded other markets,” and is “many times higher than the per household investment in infrastructure and subsidies seen in European peers like France and the UK. This will benefit regional communities and contribute to the development of Australia’s digital economy and competitiveness.”
- End user experience including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the technology over which services are delivered to an end user’s premises and some factors outside our control like end user equipment quality, software, broadband plans, signal quality and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.
Last updated on 22 March 2018