Ministers from all portfolios and each level of government must become involved in the execution of the National Digital Economy Strategy to ensure its success, according to iiNet chief regulatory officer, Stephen Dalby.
Speaking at the annual CeBIT conference in Sydney, Dalby commended the establishment of the strategy, without which many Australians would not understand the National Broadband Network (NBN) or the telecommunications industry as a whole and how it could benefit them.
“The eight national objectives [from the National Digital Economy Strategy] are the sorts of things that we need to focus on, not just telecommunications,” Dalby said.
“Unless we have the ministers from the other portfolios, from health, education, environment, regional development and so on, equally engaged in this process then you're pushing it uphill.”
See photos and all the action from the event.
Dalby described the perception of residents in Western Australia, where telecommunications is dismissed as a federal issue, as a joke.
“They spend $100 million a year on their own telecommunications usage every year and they think it’s a national issue, give me a break.
“Of all the states with its widespread open space between mining sectors, if telecommunications isn't a fantastic opportunity to drive productivity gains and get new projects off the ground then I don’t where it would.
“It's great for Senator Conroy to be passionate ... but it needs more than that, it needs the entire public sector, federal and state and local, the private sector and us as individuals, otherwise we’ll look back in 20 years time and say, ‘We should have been a part of that’.”
Dalby also noted the importance of the focus shift from the network and the technology itself, to how the NBN could benefit Australians economy on a world scale.
“It’s not about megabytes and gigabytes and billions of dollars, it’s about the economy, about our personal lives and our international global economy," he said.
"If we don't exploit every tool that we have available to us we will be left behind.”
He criticised the constant focus on how many people had signed up to the project and said measurements should instead be taken in areas such as education, the deployment of online teaching programs, and universities developing broadband applications.
“We want a serious international standing which makes us competitive around the world," he said.
"We should be focusing our energies and generating some leadership because why would I want broadband in my house if there’s nothing to access.
“Services whether they’re commercial, government or entertainment, they will be the things that people want to sign for.”
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