Tuesday, 15 September 2015 11:31

‘Fast track’ the NBN, Internet Australia tells Turnbull Featured


Internet Australia has called on incoming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to fast track construction of the National Broadband Network, claiming the Abbott Government failed to understand the importance of the Internet.

The CEO of the peak body representing Internet users, Laurie Patton, today reiterated previous comments that the Internet is the engine that will drive innovation and create much needed 21st Century jobs, and “over the past two years Australia has fallen behind other OECD countries in the rankings for Internet-enabled offices and homes. We cannot allow this to continue."

"Of all the politicians in our Federal Parliament Mr Turnbull knows better than most the value of an effective broadband service to our economic future. This is his opportunity to put Australia back in the game by fast-tracking broadband construction," Patton said.

"Right now the priority must be to roll out the NBN as quickly as possible. We can continue to debate the appropriate technology, but we cannot wait any longer to get Australians connected."

"History will decide what is the best broadband technology for a vast country like ours. But history will certainly judge us poorly if we lag behind in the next era of global innovation because we failed to deliver open and accessible internet".

Proposed copyright and website blocking legislation has also been on the agenda for Internet Australia, and Laurie Patton has just put the society’s submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry into the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.

Patton told the inquiry that any laws that affect the public's confidence in using the Internet need to be carefully drafted and continuously reviewed.

He said the Internet Australia was concerned that ad hoc legislative changes designed to address specific issues such as site blocking are at odds with good policy making “because they risk unintended consequences that can impact on the trust and the efficiency the underpins the Internet.”

“We believe that blocking access to international websites will be largely ineffective, being relatively easy to bypass. The costs to the Internet industry– and ultimately passed on to consumers – will be significant, disproportionate and unjustifiable.”

Patton said the Internet Society believed that the way to deal with Internet copyright infringement is to ensure, that to the maximum extent possible, content is made available in a timely manner and at reasonable prices – “which is to say there should be no price gouging.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a 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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