Thursday, November 27, 2014

Does the nation have a Digital Economy Strategy?

A group of carriers, consumer and small business representatives has formed a coalition that argues that Australia must set an ambitious broadband policy for the next 15 years.

The group today launched a "2030 Communications Vision" project and plans to hold a seminar discussing broadband issues in February.

Retiring iiNet regulatory chief Steve Dalby claimed there has been "an absence of leadership on a broader, integrated view of why telecommunications is important to Australia and the Australian economy. There is no national objective or national strategy to take us forward in the digital economy."

Well - technically there is a strategy, because it was released by the Labor Government in 2011 and updated in 2013.

The status of the 24 actions listed in the update was advised in response to an Question on Notice from February Estimates. The status of the 34 projects was advised in response to an Question on Notice from May Estimates.

Before the election the Coalition released its own - somewhat limited - Digital Economy policy. Amongst a plethora of commitments the policy stated the Coalition would "update the NDES during its first term."

Presumably the construction that the NDES is to be merely further updated not replaced  means the EXISTING updated NDES is still the actual strategy.

Commentator Phil Dobbie in his weekly Crosstalk podcast made some disparaging comment about the NDES. Unfotunately I didn't write it down when I listened and I'm not going to go through it again.

What I'm waiting for is someone to subject the plan - especially as updated - to some decent scrutiny.
 And just maybe it would have helped if industry and consumers had engaged with the Strategy rather than take it as a given.

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