Collaboration for the nation: nbn and CSIRO

3-minute read
Australia’s national broadband network and national science agency are joining forces to better understand the nation’s future digital capability needs.

In an exciting collaboration for Australians, nbn and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are coming together for a range of national research projects.

Under the collaboration, nbn and CSIRO will draw on their respective expertise and resources – nbn’s deep knowledge of broadband traffic patterns and CSIRO’s expert analysis and modelling capability – to further understand Australia’s needs in the digital age.

“The challenges facing our nation are significant, which is why we must find innovative ways to support Australia’s resilience and recovery,” says Stephen Rue, Chief Executive Officer at nbn.

“By working together with CSIRO, we can transform underlying national broadband traffic data into high-value insights to inform how Australia can drive and retain innovation, help ensure our industries are as productive as they can be, and to build resilience in our economy.”

Kicking off the collaboration

CSIRO team members.

The first of the research projects will see nbn and CSIRO working to improve understanding of the skills, infrastructure and support needed by industries to accelerate their digital transformation.

The initial analysis will be conducted by Data61, CSIRO’s data and digital specialist arm.

Data61 will analyse aggregated and de-identified nbn™ broadband traffic data – combined with other economic, demographic and geographic inputs – to examine how households and businesses across the nation have used digital channels for work, entertainment and to stay socially connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will serve as a baseline hypothesis for the digital maturity and resilience of different sectors, business activities, jobs and households – and their ability to recover in the post- pandemic environment.  

Analysing COVID-19

nbn and CSIRO’s initial research project will assess how businesses and households across different regions, industries and occupations moved their activities online as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

It will also look at how this activity progressed as the pandemic and its associated restrictions tracked over subsequent months.

So, why is this understanding important?

It’s important because the research may highlight the relative success of industries in adopting technology and adapting to an evolving work environment, while also providing a perspective on productivity during COVID-19.

Stephen Rue, CEO at nbn
“Embracing accelerated digitisation of the economy and making the most of the benefits of fast and reliable broadband will be crucial as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” says Stephen.

What comes next

Following on from the first research project, future collaborations between nbn and CSIRO are expected to explore how data insights can inform and improve:

  • energy reliability and efficiency
  • data privacy and security
  • agriculture automation
  • digital health

“The world is an increasingly connected place, and so much of our research in areas ranging from robotics to healthcare is now predicated on being able to share and compute data via broadband networks,” says Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive at CSIRO.

Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive at CSIRO.

“This collaboration facilitates the generation of new insights into how we are adopting digital technologies, to help solve meaningful issues and shape the future in many areas of society.

“Working with NBN Co, together we can deliver a unique national outcome.”