Broadband future: Tassie to be the most connected place on the planet

Premier draws comparisons with Hydro Tasmania project, Germany's Autobahn and EverQuest

Tasmania Premier David Bartlett has reiterated the state's aim of becoming the "most connected place on the planet" at the Realising our Broadband Future summit in Sydney.

He also panned the media for its focus on the cost equation in rolling out the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the island state.

"We believe it will be a spectacular economic and social transformation tool for our island state," he said in his keynote.

The summit, which is being held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has heard from a range of speakers including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the man commonly referred to as the father of the Internet, Vint Cerf.

Check out the event photos in the Computerworld slideshow

"In the next four years, quite literally without any political rhetoric, Tasmania will become the most connected place on the planet," Bartlett said.

He added Tasmania was looking to promote itself as a possible locale for data centres based on its significant renewable energy and advanced NBN telecommunications. The state will target companies such as Google, which run some of the biggest facilities in several geographies.

The comments come a day after Google's Vice-President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Vint Cerf told the summit via video hook-up that the NBN was becoming an icon in the IT industry.

“Personally, I envy every single Aussie that is going to benefit from this national scale of investment," Cerf said. "It is truly an infrastructure investment that is going to pay off in terms of GDP development, entrepreneurial opportunity and innovation.”

Bartlett added the penetration of high-speed broadband, which the NBN promised, would also make the state a favoured location for companies to trial applications and services.

And without identifying specific publications, he criticised the media for what he deemed an unnecessary focus on the cost equation, pointing to the 1916 opening of Hydro Tasmania in Waddamana as a comparative infrastructure project that realised the potential of transforming the state's economic and social landscape. Bartlett claimed it would have been imprudent for journalists at the time to focus just on the cost question; which he said happens now with the NBN.

"No doubt they are relevant questions but they are absolutely second and third order questions," he said.

The Tasmanian premier also drew comparisons with Germany's Autobahn and the online role playing game, EverQuest, as examples of how wealth might be derived from the NBN.

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