Vint Cerf, Vice-President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and widely regarded as the father of the Internet, has labelled the NBN rollout and telecommunications reform “stunning” and “impressive”.
Speaking to delegates via online link at the Realising Our Broadband Future forum, Cerf had nothing but praise for the project, adding that it will need to be carefully orchestrated.
“Let me start out by saying to you that I hope you all appreciate the stunning impact that your decision to build this broadband system on a national scale is having,” he said. “The architecture of the Sydney Opera House has become an icon of Australia. And I have to tell you that this decision — to build the broadband network — is becoming an icon in the IT community.
“Personally, I envy every single Aussie that is going to benefit from this national scale of investment. It is truly an infrastructure investment that is going to pay off in terms of GDP development, entrepreneurial opportunity and innovation.”
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Cerf said the investment would need to be carefully orchestrated because broadband access was not only required at the edges of the net, it would also require the expansion of the core of the network and the backhaul facilities that link the system together.
“I am sure the engineers… appreciate that and I want you to know that those of us in world of application service provision are also very conscious of the importance of the full investment in all of the parts.”
Cerf said that, historically, the Internet’s specifications have been very open, with no entry barriers for new products and services.
“Some of us call it permissionless innovation. It is the freedom to try that is so important. Innovation alone is not enough to create new wealth, it needs to be adopted. You not only need to invent, you need to find ways of helping people to understand why they should use what you're providing.
By creating an accessible infrastructure like the NBN, Australia would also open up the opportunity to link to services outside of the country, drawing in imports from services.
“The way you are going about this business is quite stunning and impressive,” he said. “By breaking up this system into two parts, it gives you the opportunity to create new applications without discrimination.”
The NBN may well result in multiple fibres or wavelengths terminating at the home, which means multiple parties can offer services, thereby opening up the market.
“The enterprise has a very bright promise,” Cerf said.