The company responsible for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the CSIRO announced on Tuesday that the data arm of the latter, Data61, will examine the former's traffic data.
The initial project, which is to be a baseline for future measurements of digital maturity and resilience, will examine aggregated and de-identified NBN traffic data to look into how connectivity was used during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The project will assess how businesses and households across different regions, industries, and occupations moved their activities online as COVID-19 hit, and how this activity evolved as the pandemic, and associated restrictions, tracked over subsequent months," the pair said.
"This could highlight the relative success of industries in adopting technology, adapting to an evolving work environment, and provide a perspective on productivity under COVID-19."
Potential projects to follow were flagged as relating to energy, privacy and cybersecurity, the use of automation in agriculture, and digital health.
"The world is an increasingly connected place, and so much of our research in areas ranging from robotics to healthcare is now predicated on being able to share and compute data via broadband networks," CSIRO chief Dr Larry Marshall said.
"This collaborative agreement facilitates the generation of new insights into how we are adopting digital technologies, to help solve meaningful issues and shape the future in many areas of society. Working with NBN Co, together we can deliver a unique national outcome."
In last week's federal Budget, the CSIRO received AU$459 million over four years to address the impacts of COVID-19, and to continue with its "essential scientific research".
At the same time, the government allocated AU$2 billion for additional research and development tax incentives, once again saying the move was to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
"Research and development, the adoption of digital technology, and affordable and reliable energy will be critical to Australia's future economic prosperity," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said during his Budget speech.
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