Monday, 30 August 2010 10:46

Broadband now a utility like power and water?

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Should we now consider Broadband a necessity of life, a utility in the same way we consider water, electricity and gas? According to a newly released poll, the answer is a resounding yes.


It has long been the argument of NBN advocates that ubiquitous fast broadband can no longer be consider a luxury and is a must have if Australia is going to keep pace with our competitors in global markets. This analysis also has its critics, who argue that while improvements in speed and reach may indeed be necessary, the big bang approach of NBN is not the answer.

However, there does at least seem to be universal agreement across the political spectrum that broadband in some shape or form is without question an important part of the national infrastructure. How important is another question.

Broadband comparison website Compare Broadband recently held a poll asking site visitors, "Do you think broadband is as necessary as utilities like gas, water and electricity?" A 78% majority of the 371 respondents said "Yes", while only 22% said "No", indicating a broadband connection is now an essential part of Australians' lives.

Cynics will undoubtedly argue that a poll addressing this question to a small sample of committed broadband users on a site like Compare Broadband is meaningless. However, it is may be worth bearing in mind that across Australia broadband connectivity in some shape or form is fast becoming as common as telephony.

Broadband Comparison management claims the poll reflects how important broadband has become to Australia's future - even the outcome of the Australian Federal election may now rest on broadband, as the independent candidates who may have the final say on the next government have put rural broadband access high on their list of priorities.

Recently on ABC radio, independent candidates Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor spoke about the urgent need for broadband in the bush. Mr Oakeshott said, 'It is an issue that's got to be delivered by government and it has got a public good element to it.' Mr Windsor added, 'I don't think we fully comprehend what that (broadband) means in terms of the delivery of health and educational services.'

Compare Broadband's General Manager, Scott Kennedy, said: "Would consumers choose a broadband connection over having water, gas or electricity? I don't think so! However, the response to the poll clearly shows the importance of a broadband connection to everyday Australians. A digital life is upon us and it would seem that most could not live without it."

 

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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