Not-for-profit groups need to take NBN lead: Huawei Report

National digital action plan proposed

A digital action plan to get every Australian using high-speed broadband by 2020 which involves the co-operation of the not-for-profit, private and government sectors has been proposed in a new report released by Huawei.

The report, entitled <i>A fair go for all in the digital era: Towards a Digital Inclusion Roadmap</i>, pointed out that to get all Australians involved in the National Broadband Network (NBN), community centres with high-speed broadband are needed for those who can’t access or afford the internet.

It also recommended the creation of a digital inclusion campaign targeting key groups who may face barriers accessing information online such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, elderly people, people with disabilities and people who live in rural and remote communities.

Other recommendations were the appointment of a national digital champion drawn from outside politics to help lead a campaign for digital participation and old ICT equipment diverted to digital inclusion programs.

One not-for-profit group which made a submission to the report was Community Sector Banking, a joint venture between Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Executive director, Peter Quarmby, said the non-profit sector need to take leadership in projects that emerge from the development of the NBN and the digital economy.

“The first thing we want to do is create a dialogue with the non-profit sector itself and how can we improve services to people using this technology,” he said.

He added there was no doubt that as a sector it would need to put "considerable investment" into the future of the digital economy.

“If we don’t, we’ll be left behind and the people who rely on the not-for-profit sector so much will be left behind too.”

However, funding for the project will need to come not just from groups such as Community Sector Banking but federal and state governments as well as private enterprise.

“We can’t work in isolation on this and we need to have the government, private sector and non-profit sector sitting down and working through all of these issues and it needs to be done on a collaborative basis,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags HuaweiNational Broadband Network (NBN)Community Sector Banking

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