ACCAN releases Our Broadband Future to update policy position

ACCAN yesterday released its updated broadband policy position – Our Broadband Future. This 2014 update takes into account the views of members expressed to us in consultations we held last year.

Toy workmen inserting a cable into a modem

The first version of Our Broadband Future came out in 2010, but ACCAN is pleased to report that despite new government policy directions and many debates over recent years, the four key principles on broadband outlined in our original statement have stood the test of time:

  • Broadband for all.
  • No consumer should be worse off during the transition and following the implementation of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
  • Robust consumer protections and consumer engagement.
  • Sustaining a competitive and fair market.

Ensuring better prices & more choices

While the four key principles remain, the update gives our broadband position a freshen-up since many of the things we called for back in 2010 have actually happened. This includes the introduction of legislation ensuring wholesale-only, open access broadband networks – meaning there will be better prices and more choices for consumers. We’ve also seen better engagement with consumers by NBN Co and industry.

Explosion of mobile broadband

Interestingly while back in 2010, some governments around the world appeared to be enshrining a right to a certain level of broadband access in law – a trend that we reflected in our 2010 document which mentioned Spain, Switzerland and Finland – that trend petered out as mobile broadband connectivity exploded.

Still high levels of investment

The majority of governments have moved toward a goal-setting approach for high-speed rollouts and the economic incentives alone have been sufficient motivators to prompt a good deal of public investment. It is useful to remember that even with new policy directions in the last few months, Australia has relatively one of the highest levels of promised public investment in broadband infrastructure.

To the future…

The 2014 update to Our Broadband Future emphasises how important broadband has become to everyone’s social and economic opportunities and how our economy as a whole will benefit from ensuring quality mobile as well as fixed infrastructure, and ensuring everyone has the access they need – whether that be on a PC, a tablet, a smartphone or some other device we have yet to imagine.

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