NBN to deliver internet service to rival Top 10 in world
IN GOOD news for farmers and regional residents, nbn broadband access network in regional Australia was on the home stretch with access to nearly all homes and businesses currently in design, construction or complete.
And, Australia was expected to reach the top 10 countries in terms of internet quality and access.
New research has revealed the digital divide between the city and the bush was shrinking, and Australia now ranks 17th among OECD ( Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries in terms of equality of internet speed and proportion of people without internet access.
Australia was ranked 29th in 2012.
The data comes from the Connecting Australia report - an Australian study into the impact of the nbn access network, conducted by data analytics and economics firm AlphaBeta.
It projects by 2021, Australia was estimated to move from being in the bottom 10 OECD countries in equality of internet access and speed to the top 10.
Other key findings found the nbn network to have helped create an additional 1750 jobs by 2017 with up to 20,000 jobs forecast by 2021, and helped drive $450 million additional gross domestic product in regional Australia with an additional $5.3 billion expected by 2021.
NBN Co also announced more than four million Australian homes and businesses (one in three) are now connected to services over the nbn access network, with the majority (58 per cent) in non-metro areas.
Policy Director, National Farmers' Federation and Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition, Mark Harvey-Sutton, said it was very welcome news for Australia's farmers.
"It has been a long time coming and we have been waiting for the digital divide to close," Mr Sutton said.
"There is huge potential for the agriculture sector coming from increased connectivity as well as improved lifestyle benefits like running a business and keeping your kids at home so they can do their education in a more efficient manner."
Deputy Chair and SE Regional Director, AgForce Qld Farmers Georgie Somerset, said it was exciting nearly everyone can access high-speed broadband.
"I think in many ways, it is almost more critical for rural and regional people to have access as they are more geographically isolated and have a range of issues that they are overcoming every day to run their businesses and live their lives."
As of May in the Federal electorates of Page and Richmond, of the 114,802 due to be serviced by the nbn fixed line service, 40,569 premises of 114,802 can now order a service over the nbn broadband access network.
By the end of the third quarter this year, 31,600 residents and businesses are expected to be able to make the switch, and the remaining 41,700 will be able to connect by mid-2019.
Of the 21,959 premises serviceable by the Fixed Wireless network - 18,829 premises in the Page and Richmond electorates are now able to connect to the nbn over Fixed Wireless; the remaining 3130 are expected to be gradually connected between now and the end of 2019.
NBN Co's CEO Bill Morrow said: "Our research shows that this connectivity revolution is spurring rapid growth in the digital economy and regional businesses, which may lead to further migration away from cities to regional hotspots.
"We are now halfway through our target of connecting eight million homes and businesses by 2020, and we will be working hard to finalise the build and connect the rest across the next few years."