Councils Showcase Broadband Innovation

Councils Showcase Broadband Innovation

Local government has been an active participant in broadband rollout, often playing a leadership role in obtaining funding for major broadband infrastructure projects.

The Coorong District Council in South Australia expects to provide farms, businesses, tourism operators and government agencies with better and cheaper access to services, education and information under a high speed broadband internet network initiative. Funded under the state government's South Australian Broadband Strategy, the initiative is also expected to allow the Council to expand the range of services and facilities available through its own Web site.

Also in SA the City of Salisbury, recognizing broadband services are essential to competition in international markets, aims to provide high-speed broadband services - a mix of radio and cable technologies - throughout the entire city. The Connecting Salisbury initiative is also being funded through the SA State Government's Broadband Development Fund.

In New South Wales The University of Newcastle and The Hunter Council are building a fibre ring in eastern Newcastle linking various education, health and local government facilities, as part of The Hunter IN-REACH Project (CCIF)

And in the Northern Territory, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and Thamarrur Regional Council's Thamarrur Regional Infrastructure Upgrade (CCIF) will provide microwave, DSL and CDMA 1*RTT solutions for 5000 people living in the communities of Wadeye, Palumpa, Peppimenarti and Daly Rivers.

These are just some of the innovative uses of broadband at local government level highlighted by the first draft of ALGA's Innovative Use of Broadband by Local Government in Australia report. Local government's involvement in the delivery of broadband has been extensive and often leading edge. The report provides a snapshot of what local government is doing to provide broadband to local communities and to promote innovative use of broadband including:

- Establishing regional community telcos
- Using broadband to share back office systems or provide access to Application Service Provider solutions at the whole of state or territory level
- Obtaining funding for broadband infrastructure rollout by helping develop a business case for obtaining broadband for their communities
- Participating in partnerships with other councils, regional development boards, health and education agencies to obtain broadband
- Developing strategic visions for their council or region which identifies obtaining broadband as an essential element in their economic development
- Developing innovative approaches to regulating the rollout of broadband in "greenfield estates"

The report also highlights initiatives like the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Wired Development project, begun in August 2003. The Cities of Melton, Wyndham, Whittlesea, Cardinia and Casey banded with MAV to executed a "Collaborative Venture Agreement" to coordinate the provision of broadband infrastructure in new housing estates in Melbourne's fringe suburbs.

ALGA wants feedback on the report to help it understand more about ways councils are using broadband to improve service delivery.

Local government has been an active participant in broadband rollout, often playing a leadership role in obtaining funding for major broadband infrastructure projects. Councils have also demonstrated their ability to form strong partnerships with business, universities, and the health and education sector. ALGA says councils are key stakeholders in all major regional infrastructure projects because they represent the voice of the community, are highly regarded within the community, and are enduring organizations.

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