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Grassroots effort needed for NBN uptake

Grassroots organisations, not just the government, will be responsible for ensuring that everyone is included in the move to online services, according to a report released from the outcomes of Huawei's National Digital Inclusion Summit held last August.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor on

Grassroots organisations, not just the government, will be responsible for ensuring that everyone is included in the move to online services, according to a report released from the outcomes of Huawei's National Digital Inclusion Summit held last August.

(Enveloped (Explored) image by Yogendra Joshi, CC BY 2.0)

The report, written by the summit's facilitator, Dr Tim Williams, compiles perspectives from not-for-profit organisations, businesses and government attending the summit.

"Government needs to ensure that targets for online participation can be achieved in an equitable way — everybody needs to be engaged in this process," said Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO Suzanne Campbell.

"While the South Australian government is leading Australia with specific targets for use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), by 2014, 40 per cent of business activity [will] be online.

"The very real challenge is to ensure the benefits of broadband reach everyone in the community."

The report said that there is a need for local government to take a leadership role in promoting and developing ways of engaging people digitally. These would include community hubs, such as libraries, which the report said should be a greater focus of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Not-for-profit organisations should also be examining ways to aggregate demand with other clubs or enterprises so they can access internet services at a lower cost, the report said. To facilitate this, the report recommended that each not-for-profit organisation appoint "digital champions" to focus on its needs, and best identify how to make the best use of high-speed broadband.

Similarly, the report recommended the appointment of a digital champion at the national and state levels to promote digital services. It recommended that these representatives be people outside of the political arena.

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