Australia: For Top Broadband Policy, Look No Further Than Canada

By Robert Imre and Stephen Owen, Uni of Newcastle

According to the Akamai State of the Internet Report for the first quarter of 2014, Australia has slipped to 42nd place in terms of average internet speed (from 40th in 2013) while forward-thinking neighbours in Asia see average speeds well above Australia’s — South Korea leads the world with an average speed of 23. 6Mbps.

In Australia, though, we often hear typically insular excuses such as “we don’t have the population density” or “distances are too great to achieve what other countries have achieved” or “we don’t have the market size in Australia” to set up high-speed, high-volume internet access.

So let’s do this with a project close to Mr Turnbull’s heart – the National Broadband Network (NBN) – and see how other countries have dealt with technology policy, rapid development of the internet, access to good internet in rural and regional areas and so on.

Spending time in most European cities, even the small- to medium-sized ones, it becomes apparent that local councils have set up some excellent internet access points, to the point where almost entire city centres have free Wi-Fi access readily available.

In this context, it has been difficult to make national telecommunications policies uniform in the US and Europe, and there is a vast market that dictates internet usage that we do not have in Australia.

Throughout Europe and Canada, and some parts of the US, typical internet access plans involves unlimited downloads, or at least such high levels of downloads that small business would have no issues with reliance on their internet providers.

Read more here: Gizmodo


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