Giant chipmaker Intel and Stephen Conroy's broadband department this afternoon announced a three-year memorandum of understanding, which will see the pair work together to maximise future benefits stemming from the roll-out of the National Broadband Network and other initiatives.
"The Gillard Government works with many industry players to ensure Australia is well placed to leverage the economic and social benefits that participating in a digital economy can provide," Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement.
"This agreement formalises work with Intel and makes clear the government's intention to continue to collaborate with industry, particularly as we move forward with the delivery of the National Broadband Network (NBN)."
The agreement was made today after a meeting between Conroy and Intel's Asia-Pacific general manager Navin Shenoy.
Through the agreement, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will keep Intel up-to-date with the progress of the government's digital economy strategy, work with the chip giant on initiatives to promote an "NBN-enabled digital economy" and share relevant research.
Intel will provide access to its research labs, in particular through what the company said was its new, locally-based Interaction & Experience Research division, which will be led by Australia-born Intel fellow Genevieve Bell. It will also share experiences from technology adoption in other countries and access to subject matter experts, as well as share "best-known methods" around the development and implementation of open industry standards.
Intel will also evaluate investment in Australian technology businesses through its Intel Capital arm.
"This MOU [memorandum of understanding] will enable Australia to benefit from Intel's global experiences in using high-speed broadband in areas such as health, education, business and environmental management," Conroy said.
"The digital economy will ultimately encompass the entire economy and almost all facets of our society and the Gillard Government is ensuring it has the infrastructure in place to take advantage of the opportunities it will present," he added.
For his part, Shenoy said the deal would formalise work that had been going on between the two sides for almost two years, as well as opening up future development paths.
Intel Australia and New Zealand chief Philip Cronin added that the National Broadband Network was "the right thing to do", and said the MOU was about moving beyond the politics of the NBN and instead focusing on the opportunities it created.