Australian Governments of all levels have jointly released a framework to accelerate the development and use of broadband in Australia to ensure the country remains domestically and internationally competitive.
The Framework for the collaborative development and use of broadband in Australia was released by representatives at the 16th meeting of the Online and Communications Council (OCC) in Melbourne.
The OCC is comprised of a minister from each state and territory, representing the area of online information and communications services.
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy – who chairs the OCC – said broadband is a vital digital economy enabler.
“This framework is a first for Australia as it outlines a national commitment to broadband collaboration and cooperation between all tiers of government,” he said in a statement.
The framework identifies key principles for developing broadband and sets strategies for three priority objectives:
- All Australians have access to high speed broadband at equitable service levels and prices.
- Australians are fully aware of the benefits of high speed broadband, and are able to choose a broadband service that meets their needs.
- Australians use high speed broadband to improve economic, environmental and social wellbeing
According to the Government, broadband and the digital economy should be driven by a pro-competitive environment that advances the interests of users, promotes efficiency and choice, maximises flexibility, and fosters innovation in the development and application of broadband technologies.
The framework pledged: To develop better practice models for the provision of broadband to regional, rural and remote areas; utilise the benefits of government purchasing and contract arrangements to optimise broadband availability; promote consistent planning guidelines for state and local governments to ensure efficient deployment of broadband; encourage open standards and open access to infrastructure to promote competition; and promote green ICT policies.
The National Broadband Development Group will implement an annual work plan to address the priority areas, objectives and strategies within the Framework, and will report to the OCC.
The Framework can be viewed online at the OCC Web site.