Broaden broadband debate: Comms Alliance

The Communications Alliance has joined the chorus of voices calling for election candidates to broaden the scope of their broadband plans.

The Communications Alliance has joined the chorus of voices calling for election candidates to broaden the scope of their broadband plans. The Australian Information Industry Association last week criticised the major parties for providing only vague broadband election promises.

Communications Alliance CEO Anne Hurley today said that candidates need to broaden their concerns and stop focusing simply on broadband itself.

"Australia is on the verge of a new era in which broadband technologies will dramatically change the way that information is transmitted, used and consumed," Hurley said.

"We can no longer restrict our thinking and our planning to fit into the old legislative and regulatory silos that were developed for a time when telcos delivered all of our communications services, media companies just produced television, radio, newspapers or magazines and computer companies just sold boxes that sat on the desktop."

Hurley was disappointed that the debate concentrated so narrowly on network infrastructure.

"Infrastructure is important but we need to broaden the debate," she said.

According to Hurley, election participants should be focusing on creating an environment that facilitates growth and competition, which would require leaders to consult with industry stakeholders.

"Government would then be able to develop a comprehensive framework of legislative and administrative measures that are purpose-built for the broadband world, not bolted on to the legacy tools of the pre-digital age."

Hurley provided suggestions for the development of policy principles for candidates:

  • Technological neutrality
  • Openness and transparency
  • Deregulation - less regulation and more industry self-regulation
  • Removal of barriers to industry development
  • National economic growth and social wellbeing
  • Long-term interests of end users
  • Promoting and preserving a competitive market environment
  • Facilitating efficient investment for industry/national economic growth and policy outcomes
  • Fostering the development of innovative services
  • International competitiveness
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