Last week, the Morrison Government established the Australian Broadband Advisory Council (ABAC) – so what is it, who’s on it and what will they seek to achieve?
ABAC has been set the task of identifying additional ways in which digital connectivity can support Australia’s economy, and this includes recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Digital connectivity has been at the centre of people’s lives and livelihoods throughout COVID-19, with businesses and consumers rapidly embracing online means for productivity, connectivity and social cohesion,” said Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher.
Not Just About The NBN
While the spotlight will of course be on the NBN, the potential of 5G will also get some serious attention. The 5G Working Group, which was previously managed by the Department of Communications, will reform as a sub-group of the Council to examine 5G technology – already in use in Australia for fixed wireless broadband delivery by companies including Lightning Broadband.
The areas the Council will advise the Government on are:
- How the NBN and 5G can boost Australia’s economic output
- Identifying opportunities to increase NBN, 5G and other broadband network use in business
- Identifying various barriers to NBN and 5G use
- Cost effective strategies to reduce barriers identified
- Implementation, communication and outreach strategies that could be implemented.
The initial focus of ABAC will be developing strategies relating to Australia’s agriculture and education sectors, then it will move on to the tourism, media and digital content, and health sectors – with strategies to be developed in consultation with key stakeholders in each.
The Broadband Advisory Council currently consists of:
- (Chair) Deena Shiff – Chair of Marley Spoon.
- Bronte Adams, Director, Victorian Education and Research Network
- Martin Haese, CEO of Business SA
- Scott Lorson, CEO of Fetch TV
- Jan Müller, CEO of National Film and Sound Archive
- Georgina Somerset, President, AgForce Queensland Farmers
- Zareh Nalbandian, CEO & Producer – Animal Logic Experience Media
There could be another couple of names added to the list as the Terms of Reference state the Council can consist of a Chair and up to eight members.
ABAC will be communicating its advice and recommendations to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.
“I look forward to receiving input from the Council on how to we can leverage the ubiquitous, fast broadband connectivity to stimulate the nation’s productivity, increase opportunities for businesses, and to support social benefits for all Australians,” said Minister Fletcher.