NBN will drive working from home opportunities: Lundy

Faster broadband means Australians not tied to major cities

The National Broadband Network (NBN) will increase the advantages of employees working from home for many businesses, according to government and industry representatives.

Speaking in Sydney at the launch of a Cisco report into into the changing work environment, ACT senator, Kate Lundy, said faster broadband would give employees and employers more choice over where work could be done.

“We are making this change and leading the debate on what a ubiquitous network will do this for the country. People will have choice of where they can work once the digital divide closes. It’s a fascinating test bed for changing work habits.”

For example, she said industries such as movie and television production which need fast broadband for digital production would not need to be tied to a studio as workers could set up a workstation from home.

Regional centres outside the major Australian cities could also attract people wanting what she called a sea change, or change of lifestyle.

“The distributed work force model is very much at one end of the spectrum. Isolation is serious so if someone working remotely, instead of a daily commute maybe a weekly commute to work,” she said.

Future Exploration Network chairman, Ross Dawson, said that while the promise of the NBN is still to come, there may come a time where Australians were not tied to large cities to work.

“There is an opportunity for regional hubs but urbanisation is going ahead within Australia at a continuing pace. There are issues with drought and water access so the jury is still out there.”

The Cisco report claimed that only 43 per cent of Australians surveyed said it was necessary for them to be in the office to make decisions. It also claimed 73 per cent of Australians surveyed would take a pay cut if it meant more flexible working conditions.

Lundy's confidence in the NBN came as a survey was released from broadband comparison website, Compare Broadband, which indicated Australian consumers saw 4G wireless and the NBN as necessary technologies.

Fifty-nine per cent of people surveyed wanted both technologies while 40 per cent preferred 4G as the dominant technology.

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Andrew Murray


and when Aus. business's realise their workers can work remotely guess where those jobs will go.



id prefer to keep choices and flexability in my internet, we already tried a PPP of government and telstra, look how thats turned out.

one does have to question why our government is so desperate to centralise and takeover the entire infrastructure, oh wait...



ha! "industries such as movie and television production "

That`s about 50 people in Australia !

For the rest of us, existing Internet is more than enough for Remote Access.

So we'll spend $43billion so that a few dozen people can work from home !

This article should have a disclaimer - that it is political advertising.



The rest of us?

How presumptuous of you... and of course, your political advertising.

The Whisperer1


I have been working from home since 1995 without NBN so why do I need NBN now.



@5 Thats right boyo its all about you isnt it?

If you could at all think beyond YOUR little box, and think other branches of the working world then comment on that, then you would be valid, as it stands you just come across as a shut in, but then again dealing with concepts by conceptional thinking is just a bit of an ask.

Backally Whisperer


I take it working from home means in an industry not requiring heavy data use, and that would also indicate your a total (bleep) because you make a large statement without reference for others, so weak as my friend, weak as.



@5 has a legitimate point which needs answering. There's lots of hand-waving using pretentious words and jargon (like @6 for example) and politicians suggesting that he NBN will open the way for all sorts of things in the future that can't be imagined now.
There's also little consideration been given to what proportion of the working population do jobs which actually can be done at home. Also, the blithe assumption that a significant proportion of the working population are capable of working effectively at home without continual support and oversight is a dangerous leap of faith.
It's all a nice idea but I'd like to see some serious thought about the practicalities rather than a lot of ill-informed and emotional future gazing.

Francis Young


@1, I preseume you are suggest the jobs will go overseas.

But some companies will be able to relocate away from high-cost capital cities to smaller centres, even multiple small centres near their customers. The biggest winners will be hundreds of small businesses on the edge of regional towns and more than 2km from the telephone exchange. Currently many of these have either slow ADSL or have to lease expensive dedicated fibre. In many cases they have hefty monthly telephone bills that will be replaced by VoIP. Fibre will also give them scope for videoconferencing with suppliers and clients, saving travel time and expense.

Even home businesses will be able to do continuous offsite trickle backup of their computer hard drive, for restoration within hours after a disk crash. The ease of this approach will make it ubiquitous, unlike the patchy backup regimes in place now that lead to costly downtime. (How are your backups going, @5? Can you hear that ticking sound from your hard disk...?)

Fast, reliable, ubiquitous fibre will be game changing for small business, which is the nation's biggest employer.



Something that people have already been doing over copper. What a waste of money and time. And all we will have are over inflated internet prices. As crazy as it sounds...when NBN rolls in, it may be cheaper to go on Telstra's Next G (or whatever they call their upgraded wireless network by then)!!! crazy as it sounds, Telstra could be faster and cheaper! lol



"Fast, reliable, ubiquitous fibre will be game changing for small business, which is the nation's biggest employer."

How? I suggest it will not make one iota of difference to small business. What is the NBN going to do?

People have had the ABILITY to work from home for two decades. It hasn't happed yet. I can't see how a slightly faster network planned to be implemented over the next decade is going to change the social fabric of Australian business.



While the author here may be narrow minded; listen to some of you. This is like the Jump from dial up to broadband.
 Google is working on programs which run straight of the net rather than installing a copy on every computer. Being able to stream large amounts of data; look at onlive for gamers. Play any game from any device on virtually any device. My Internet drops every 20 minuets. I have had technician after technician come out over 6 months. Fiber will fix that too. 
 ITs a large cost; but once done it's done. Many reports indicate that it will pay itself off anyway. And as for pricing; look around. It's cheaper for the majority. I'm stuck on a telstra exchange; $60 for $60GB is the best deal I can get. No more monopoly for telstra, they won't control the pricing any more and we'll get a fair go. 

 It's a major project sure (loss). But it's creating jobs and it will pay itself off. Then in the end, we'll have faster more competitive Internet. Win win win.



Do these people live in the real world? The term "working from home" is a commonly-used euphamism for "having a day off without using any leave". An employee, as opposed to a self-employed person, cannot be trusted to 'work' from home. And the technology has existed for over a decade to enable you to do it, but isn't taken up simply because of that reason



@ 11 Nailed it!

And not one comment so far about mobility!

I wonder if the opinions will be the same in ten years when and if this thing gets built, remember this, construction of the network does not begin until after Feb 2012.

And for those who want to screech it is being built now, do not confuse a pilot site or sites with no common technology,they are being used to decide what the "construction is going to be in 2012.

So like the weather, nobody can say what it will be in three months 3 years, let alone what broadband technology will be in five years!

It is all guess work!

So just enjoy boys and girls.



I've worked from home one day a fortnight for around 10 years.... ADSL2 is absolutely fine for access to webex, email and servers... and a VC every now and then. More excuses for FTTH.

But then this is the minister that was recently interviewed on TV about the parlous state of the Australian War Memorial and replied they were only following policies introduced by the Howard Government. hmmm that is at least 3+ years and two elections ago.

No clue Lundy.

John Hunter


It never ceases to amaze me the breathless excitement that is generated when politicians discover something 'new'. The fact that people like myself have been working productively and competitively in remote workplaces since before ADSL2, seems to have been missed. I'm currently working on a project in the UK [ I'm based in Melbourne ], with Skype conferencing and all the trimmings, and I haven't even found a need to upgrade to ADSL2 yet!!!

The problem in working remotely is actually nothing to do with Internet connection speed. It is all about TRUST and employer mentality. Many aspects of IT development are not easily measurable on a day-to-day basis. In an office environment, productivity can be estimated, sometimes falsely, from the observation of staff beavering away. Remote staff need to establish a relationship of trust and a good reputation before employers will embrace the concept. There are many on-line 'talent pools', but these tend to compete mainly on price and thus do not always produce a satisfactory end-game.

Repeat... Nothing to do with Internet speed [ unless you are a video producer!!! ].



"While the author here may be narrow minded; listen to some of you. This is like the Jump from dial up to broadband."

OFT has been available to business for 24 years. Those that want it, already have it. There are still well oer a million dial-up users in Australia. Most of them access to broadband, but don't want it.

"Google is working on programs which run straight of the net rather than installing a copy on every computer."

Stupid idea doomed to failure.
1. If some retard puts a dozer through a cable your newly empowered small business doesn't get to use a work processor or the accounting system for a week. That includes POS, Order entry, Invoicing and Payroll. Anyone involved with business risk analysis would run away screaming from this model.

2. Security. If an application gets hacked, everyone on the planet that uses that application is affected. Not really 'defence in depth' is it?

"Being able to stream large amounts of data; look at onlive for gamers. Play any game from any device on virtually any device."

So we are back to games? The proposal was that the NBN is going to have a positive effect on small business. My question is "how?".

"My Internet drops every 20 minuets."

Don't believe it. If you live that far out, you're not getting fiber anyway.


"pay itself off. Then in the end, we'll have faster more competitive Internet."

What does that mean?

The project as i stands is dead. Far too expensive for no benifit (apart from games and telly).



Look the circus is back in town because all the clowns (well all 2 of them) and their multiple names, saying the exact same thing are here again...LOL

@14, but, but, but...

Still not man enough to own up to your stupid comments dear boy...?

You said the NBN never be built by anyone...

You never mentioned anything else, pilots, alterations... in fact YOU said you will be building chunks of the NBN and making lots of $ from it.

It is currently being utilised so it IS built, in areas, it just isn't completed yet.

Bit like when building roads... they do segments at a time... but because they have only done from A-D (not A-Z) doesn't mean that A-D isn't built, does it...? Der...!

LMFAO at your narcissistic defensiveness dear boy...!

As my prophesy clearly said no will (and no one has) ever take you seriously again after my previous dealing with you...LOL!!!

Tata for now!



@John Hunter
Spot on, 100%.



I work for an Australian telco and we have the right to work from home if we wish. I also do volunteer pro bono work for the Australian affiliate of a global health and human rights NGO/not-for-profit.

Both aspects of my work involve constant working to and from servers in this country and overseas, and files of all kinds large and small. I have what passes for broadband in Australia and I pay a fortune for it.

Working from home is a misery quite frankly as even text files take far too long to upload to servers and then come back as browser pages. As for video and other multimedia files... sheesh. I had real broadband working from home in the UK in the mid-90s.

If the NBN is finally going to give me real broadband here in Australia then I am all for it.

Australia's current expensive fake broadband is crippling my paid work, my volunteer work, my life and my career.



Not for too much longer Karin hang in there and good luck.

As to the selfish few who say I'm ok, I can work from home and have done since Jeebus was a boy... I agree wholeheartedly with T Brown @6.

The first N in NBN = National - as in, for everybody.

Mike Roberts


Whew! Ned Ludd would have been proud to read most of the above comments! Internet access in Australia is quite simply terrible and not even up to standards in developing S E Asia (where I live and work) I run my business exactly as Kate Lundy says, with multiple devices connecting both by fibre and wirelessly. I have worked in the IT industry for longer than I can recall and believe me when I say that real broadband (I have 30mbps at home...) is like an F1 car vs an FJ - sure the FJ got the job done - 60 years ago - but today it’s just a nostalgic reminder of subsidized wool and meat pies: it’s not the present nor the future. No matter the politics of the NBN, as long as the regulator gets the pricing right, you will see many new jobs in rural Australia and far less going overseas and that may just tempt me back.



@ 16 Well said John, then again I would not expect anything else from a Melbourne Boy!

For those who are of the idiot belief everyone will get broadband from the NBN dream on! if I thought it worthwhile I would post the design and construction map and details from my very recent briefing from NBN, but then again you cannot educate an idiot, just stick to data mining for Wollies or one of the other accounts, try harder, as you are being watched, you may even keep the job and not disappear like the other Aztecs.



+1 Mike (@22)... great and precise comment!

Francis Young


Some of these Turnbull fanbois who sit around posting that ADSL is fine have probably never tried to access files on their office network remotely over ADSL.

If they have done, they are probably in the fortunate 25% of ADSL users within 2km of their telephone exchange.

And worst of all in their good fortune they are forgetting that 40% of Australians have no access to broadband at all, a legacy of fifteen years of free market failure to deliver.

My ADSL (in Maitland NSW) currently varies between 700 and 1700 Kbps with appalling upload speeds. Just OK for general web surfing, but inadequate even for viewing ABC IView most of the time.

The NBN will indeed change the quality of life in regional Australia, and consequently take some pressure off groaning capital cities.

Francis Young


Lazy sods who slack off while pretending to work at home are soon exposed.

Those who accuse everyone of being like that could well be projecting their own self-expectation.

Employers quickly work out which of their staff perform when given the opportunity of teleworking to improve their work-life balance. Most tasks simply aren't possible with today's connection speeds, but this is finally about to change.



keep pumping yourselves up guys. Real NBN consumer products on Fiber are at least a year away. And with the ALP backroom boys sharpening the knives, I wouldn't even be sure of the services rolling out to the home if an election is called, but you could luck-in and be in an island of fiber for evermore after the Libs pull the plug on this stupid waste of money.

To those who choose to misunderstand posts that are pro-ADSL are from selfish people: maybe you should pull your head out of the sand, there are suitable alternatives to the fiber to millions of homes that probably will never use the services.



Love the naysayers who call themselves rational, reality check, democracy, advocate or any other narcissistic tripe they can conjure...!

Particularly since they have shown themselves to be anything but rational and in need of a reality check!

Pro-ADSL, LOL...even ADSL only covers about 2/3 of the country, so speaking of selfish, what about the other 3rd? And what about the copper, you think it will last forever?

Keep the FUD coming ladies, as the NBN keeps hurtling on and everyone will then have decent comms.

And going by Mal's comment today at ZD, I think if (when) he becomes opposition leader again, they will embrace the NBN (not Labor's version exactly) but closer to Labor's than the current hotch-potch BS of the Libs.



A comment I have read somewhere:
"256Kbps is considered the baseline speed for ‘broadband’ services by both industry watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as well as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)."
With the applications available in today's world, 256Kbps would only meet basic/mid level requirements. For some this may be fine/acceptable, for most, I suspect this is not even close enough. I am of the later category. More speed please!



@28 Thanks RS for confirming what I said at 27.

Re-read what I said and stop playing dumb. As I said "... there are suitable alternativeS to the fiber ... "

That can mean expansion and improvement of ADSL2, 3G/4G wireless or satellite. At 66% of the population (your figure) ADSL over copper has a huge footprint that NBN will rip out, not very clever.

btw, you are being cute with Turnbull's comments... you are very well aware his stance is against FTTH and for using alternative methods such as ADSL and wireless 3G/4G, as i say above. Don't play silly buggers confusing support for fiber for backhaul and business, with that for fiber to the home. You know the last mile fiber is the contentious issue.

Francis Young`


@rational, you correctly list the alternatives to FTTH as being ADSL, wireless and satellite. Apart from the fact that each of these is (a) inferior, (b) more expensive to operate, and (c) will be superseded, there is a better reason for going with FTTH up to 93%, i.e. for large towns and cities (population density of 200+ per sq km).

The reason is that FTTH is the CHEAPEST way to deliver universal broadband of at least 12 Mbps bandwidth right up to the 93rd percentile of premises, when ranked by the cost of installing FTTH. Wireless is only cheaper for the 94th to 97th percentile, after which no terrestrial service can compete with satellite for cost.

When Malcolm Turnbull stops sniping and presents his alternative universal proposal we can all assess it. The fact is he knows the NBN is the best and cheapest mix of last-mile technologies for universal broadband. He has no better solution to offer, which is why he hasn't offered one.



Oh Rational (LOL)... I seemed to have hit a nerve, laughing as I did at those hero names you FUDsters give yourselves...!

Regardless, that and (my thoughts on Turnbull) is my opinion and if you don't like it bad luck...

And yes FYI - I am indeed very cute, thanks for noticing!

On a brighter note...

Another succinct comment Francis, kudos...!



What's broadband?



@Francis young:
You are correct in that FTTH is superior in performance to alternatives and a good long term goal, however it is certainly not the most cost effective method for delivering broadband across the country especially given the approach taken by the government and NBNCo.

If fibre were cheaper to deploy, don't you think Telstra would have stopped deploying copper for new developments in favour of a more future proof technology?

By all means stop new copper deployments and insist on FTTH, but ripping up copper where it delivers sufficient capacity is a waste of money.

The NBN is poorly justified when you read articles like this where you have people working from home today on connections of around 2MBps with little difficulty. The reasons for people not doing this are nothing to do with technology, but with organizational culture and how working from home effects the individual.

Supporters of the NBN need to realise that there are businesses and individuals that have access to the same speeds that the NBN proposes to provide today and need to look carefully at how they are using the service versus those that don't.

Finally, its important to have a reliable connection when you depend so much on it for your business. The model of the NBN provides less redundancy than exists today, so where we have a choice of providers today (particularly for corporate fibre and metro Ethernet), the NBN monopoly is likely to seek to rationalise last mile connections and at best be able to only provide redundancy from the POI onward.

We definitely need to see continuous improvement of broadband in this country, however the NBN in this form is not right. Given the strain within the government, the timeframe for the project and the realisation of some of the risks in the project (skills shortages, delays in agreements with Telstra and industry), we should be looking at another iteration of the NBN that has costs and benefits more proportionate to what is needed in this country.

The current approach of blocking competition and cresting loopholes to justify some of the NBN's actions (i.e. selling services directly to energy providers, compromising it's non-retail stance) is very much putting us at risk of maintaining the status quo of an incumbent monopoly.

D Newman


@34 All that you have stated is true, if it wasnt for the fact the copper you are talking about is 15 years past life ex and is way over due replacement, Telstra,s point blank refusal to replace the copper network they were milking so hard is what caused the whole NBN situation in the first place.



Agree 100% DN...

The naysayers naysay... but really have nothing apart from, just use the copper and HFC (yes the HFC is over 15 years old too) and lets cross our fingers that it will last forever or longer!

Let's also just ignore past trends suggesting that the copper wont be able to handle future needs even if it does last...

So, as for the future, who needs charts for over the last 30 years as a guide to future trends?

Just check what YOU were using (download wise), YOUR speeds and YOUR PC specs/requirements from 5, 10 and 15 years ago and then tell us with a straight face, that we won't need bigger, faster, better and what we have will do forever...

Just as those blind naysayers before you in the last century (how apt) were saying back then too!



Whilst doing some research I came across this discussion that feels a little like the 'Climate change doesn't exist' discussion, that continued on in Australia long after the rest of the developed world had moved on. Most people wont embrace change and will fight it until it's too late, that's human nature. So, I will ignore the naysayers and issue a challenge.

Use your imagination. Think about the possibilities, do a little reading and come up with a great new idea that can change the world. Take advantage of Australia's natural limitations or advantages and start thinking about how you, your work, colleagues, friends or family can create something world changing with a super fast broadband network. If it's not your thing, then encourage and support others who can.

It's no coincidence that almost none of the major innovations of our time have come from our shores, and I would argue this has much to do with a certain mentality. Instead of focusing our energy on whether we need the NBN, cause frankly its happening anyways, lets do something world changing with it.

How about we try and improve our Global Innovation Ranking? You can be pretty sure that if the 22 countries ahead of us don't already have the speeds that we can look forward to, they would be chomping at the bit to get them.


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