The NBN application blueprint: What the next decade holds

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is set to transform a wide range of industries with the availability of next-generation applications over the next decade

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is set to transform a wide range of industries with the availability of next-generation applications over the next decade.

While the health and education sectors are being touted as early beneficiaries of the network there are a range of other industries set to be transformed.

As higher bandwidth becomes available, so too will applications to facilitate massive increases in productivity.

Today Australian industry is limited in its ability to employ network-based applications such as ultra-high-definition video, which requires speeds upwards of 250 megabits per second.

And according to Google A/NZ engineering director, Alan Noble, it's not about access it’s all about speed.

"The NBN will enable a host of apps and services which we can barely imagine today such as real time collaboration of video conferencing and the video streaming of full length feature films in minutes," he said.

"There will be much faster file transfers making the realisation of Cloud computing practical.

"Users will also be able to simultaneously run a multitude of bandwidth hungry apps."

In a submission to the House of Representatives NBN inquiry, Noble compared super fast broadband to the Trans Australia Railway.

He said it provides a platform to connect Australia to a new generation of opportunities and the almost unlimited potential to deliver innovation.

The most mainstream killer apps likely to emerge in the next five years will be Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and Video on Demand (VoD). While remote hosting and 3D imaging are still in their infancy, these applications will also become mainstream within the decade.

The ultimate goal for NBN Co is to provide 1000Mbps for a standard GPON (gigabit passive optical network) consumer service.

PON technology has a well defined roadmap to deliver 10Gbps, with blueprints already available for next generation offerings with projected speeds of 100Gbps by 2030.

Teleconferencing, e-health, e-learning and e-government will lead the charge when it comes to enabling new content and applications in the medium term.

The growth rate for the telecommunications industry has remained steady at four to five per cent per annum for the last four years, according to Gartner. But this will change as a multitude of industries look to remote applications to drive productivity as more employees utilise teleworking.

In its Corporate Plan 2011-2013, the NBN Co has identified VoIP and wireless as the biggest drivers for growth in the next few years.

NBN Co is currently scaling up FTTP deployment, with its first commercial service available in September 2011. A range of commercial products will be available in February 2012, with full scale network construction operational by August 2012.

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