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.
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.