NBN lab to create an Aussie Gates: Gillard

NBN lab to create an Aussie Gates: Gillard

Summary: Yesterday the Victorian Government announced the launch of the Australian Broadband Applications Laboratory (ABAL) — a facility where businesses can pay to test out their applications over high-speed broadband.


Yesterday the Victorian Government announced the launch of the Australian Broadband Applications Laboratory (ABAL) — a facility where businesses can pay to test out their applications over high-speed broadband.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

The lab is located at the University of Melbourne, under the umbrella of the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES), which had already been launched and then provided with $3 million worth of state government funding.

The laboratory provides a broadband network that replicates the National Broadband Network (NBN) set-up, enabling businesses to test new products to later be run over the NBN. The standard testing speed will be 100Mbps, but the laboratory could configure the network to provide speeds up to 10Gbps. Any Australian business can use it from now for a fee.

To start with, IBES will employ two additional staff to run ABAL, but the Victorian Government expected this number to grow to 10 by 2014.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke at the launch, saying that with challenges such as an ageing population, Australia needed to increase productivity and broadband is the key to doing so.

"The United Nations has stated that 'broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology'," she said. "The NBN will provide the basis for new methods, processes and products to drive efficiency and productivity growth."

She said that Australia did have many smart people, but that these people needed the tools to be able to prosper.

"We celebrate stories like Bill Gates, the university drop-out who'd started mucking around with computers as a 13-year-old kid. Or Steve Jobs, building the first Apple computers in his parents' garage. I sincerely believe that there are people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in this country. In our schools and universities and businesses. But they need the hardware and the innovative climate to succeed," she said, also calling attention to Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who invented Google Maps in Sydney.

"Productivity begins here," she said. "It is Australia's non-negotiable passport to the future."

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government AU, NBN

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Running a taxi service is NOT equivalent to having a car manufacturing industry!

    This lab is all about "apps" and NOT about what is sorely needed - deeper engineering and technological understanding of the underlying NBN products and systems and their protection. Without that Australia will have no idea of the quality, resilience, security or like factors in the IT products and systems it imports, as the IT "colony" that it has become.

    Citing Gates and Jobs is all about the REAL ICT industry and NOT about its applications - which rightly belong in the industry served, e.g. the mining sector, etc.
    (We don't call a truck used in a large mine, a "truck industry".)

    Moreover, for those two entrepreneurs, they had access to a venture capital industry second to none to enable solid industry development - an finacial structure Australia simply DOES NOT HAVE at a level to enable new companies to compete in the GLOBAL marketplace. (Just look at the funding rounds for Google!)

    Much better - a BUY AUSTRALIAN policy by Prime Minister Gillard's Labor Government - to enable Australians to develp around ICT sales to our own government and defence interests - and that includes contracts for R&D as well prototype delivery. Yes - that is EXACTLY how the USA took over the IT industry through defence and government purchasing (the "Buy American Act" - Title 41 of the US Code) that enabled even the early Fairchild (and the later "Fair-children") to prosper.