Thursday, 03 September 2015 10:57

NBN will boost GDP by 1.8%: new study Featured

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) will likely deliver a substantial benefit to Australia’s economy, according to a newly released study which also found that the greatest economic benefits will be derived from telehealth and teleworking.

According to the study, the NBN can boost Australian GDP by about 1.8%, and real household consumption - a measure of national welfare - by about 2.0%, additional to a “non-NBN environment”. Accounting for NBN debt-servicing requirements, growth in real household consumption reduces slightly to 1.4%.

The economic benefits of the NBN are established in a whitepaper published by the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) at the University of Melbourne, based on a PhD study.  CEET is supported by Alcatel-Lucent and the Victorian Government.

While outlining the benefits to the national economy from the NBN, the whitepaper also highlights the importance of new service utilisation to meet that potential.

CEET says the study takes a conservative approach, modelling the economic impact of six categories of online services with bit-rate requirements of 10-25Mbps, calculating the additional economic benefit of these services “as they would be enabled by the NBN, as compared to a non-NBN environment.”

The six service categories are cloud computing, electronic commerce, online higher education, telehealth practice, teleworking, and entertainment, with the study finding that the greatest economic benefits are derived from telehealth and teleworking.

The whitepaper says that an analysis of the regional distribution of benefits shows that all regions benefit from the NBN “but the economic effects are greater in the major cities because of their larger economic activity.”

But, a clear finding of the study, says CEET, is that there would be “negligible economic benefit” in building an NBN if the only utilised service category is entertainment.

“However, economic benefits will flow if other services, such as telehealth and teleworking, are more widely spread and utilised as a result of NBN,” the report concludes.

The whitepaper – ‘Economic Benefit of the National Broadband Network’ - is a partial summary of a study undertaken by University of Melbourne PhD student, Sascha Süßspeck in CEET, and is available for download here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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