Government steps up NBN marketing with extra $20m in funding

The government will spend $20 million to further educate the public about the National Broadband Network.

The federal government will inject $20 million into a marketing campaign to dispel misconceptions about the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The funding was announced today in its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook for the federal budget, with the funding for the NBN to be used “to improve public understanding, address misconceptions and provide updated information about the National Broadband Network”.

The funding will be concentrated in five CBD areas – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

The government also announced it would increase its funding in NBN Co by $2.9 billion to $30.4 billion.

“The Government's investment over the forward estimates is expected to be $4,672 million in 2012/13, $6,119 million in 2013/14, $6,664 million in 2014/15 and $4,760 million in 2015/16, with $5,354 million beyond the forward estimates. This is in addition to the $2,832 million investment already made,” the budget detailed.

An equity funding agreement with NBN Co and the government would also mean the government would provide funds for the associated costs of a termination of the NBN, which has been estimated at $2.8 billion.

In May this year, the government announced it was allocating $20 million to help highlight the advantages of the NBN primarily in regional and remote areas where the NBN will be provided by fixed wireless and satellite services. The funding would also be used to provide up-to-date information on the network.

The government also announced today that it would add another $29.7 million over four years for government agencies to develop an ICT framework to make online access easier, with the Department of Human Services to be the first to roll out improvements.

The changes will allow customers to change their personal details online and manage communication with an online digital inbox.

The government has also allocated $27.5 million over four years to help pre-construction activities for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Meanwhile, new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items will also be introduced from 1 January, 2013 for video conferencing for short consultations with physicians and specialists. It is expected to save around $4.5 million over four years, with items restricted to patients in specific geographical areas.

The government will also save around $134.4 million over four years by restricting telehealth services to patients who have significant barriers to accessing specialist care. This will exclude patients in outer metro areas and major cities.

Another $400,000 will also be allocated over four years to broaden the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's biometrics collection policy to include e-lodged applications. The Department will also expand the biometrics program to Cambodia.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also been granted $2.1 million in funding over four years to track Australian purchases from domestic and overseas online retailers.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags budgetnbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)

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