Beyond NBN: Improving digital inclusion through a National Digital Communications Strategy

Korean art: Chatting at a well at night

Beyond NBN — new research suggests that advancing Australia’s digital economy and improving digital inclusion needs to start with a National Digital Communications Strategy led by the Federal Government.

The research examined lessons from other developed nations — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Republic of Korea - which indicate that user-focused or demand-side policies are key to an accessible and inclusive Australian digital communications strategy.

The presenters explain how COVID-19 restrictions exposed the importance of digital inclusion and demand-side policies, for example, enabling vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, to develop digital literacy skills to utilise online services, when in-person services were no longer an option.

The findings support existing policies including, for example, Service NSW-assisted digital services in shopfronts and elsewhere, and digital classrooms in Seoul Citizens Hall - a multipurpose space in the South Korean capital.

The research determines that the ongoing enhancement and usage of the National Broadband Network needs to be drawn into a broader policy, where broadband services are part of a digital communications ‘ecosystem’, led by the Federal Government, but integrated with the State Governments as social policy.

This presentation is an outcome of a TelSoc internship project at the University of Canberra. A paper on the subject was published in the last issue of the Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy.

GMT_20230221 from TelSoc on Vimeo.