SPEAKERS at the launch of A Snapshot of Australia's Digital Future to 2050, in Sydney yesterday, blamed any reluctance to embrace high-speed broadband, as embodied in the National Broadband Network (NBN), on fear, a lack of perspective and a lack of leadership.
"We were, quite frankly, a little frustrated by [the NBN debate] and by the lack of vision," said Andrew Stevens, IBM's managing director in Australia and New Zealand.
"Being amongst those people who were over the horizon, in terms of confidence in the economic impact of this, we thought we should actually do some quantitative and qualitative research to prove our confidence - or, to disprove it."
The report, produced for IBM by international strategic forecasting firm IBISWorld, positions high-speed broadband as "the new utility", comparing it to the utilities that underpinned previous transformations in society - such as the water- and steam-driven mechanical power utilities of early industrialisation, and the electricity grids and telephony systems of later industrialisation.
"In the Infotronics Age, information communications technology (ICT) - in the form of computers, telecommunications, broadcasting equipment and software - led the new utility sector from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s," the report said.
"The second stage turbo-boost has now arrived, in the form of digitisation (displacing analog), broadband (cable, fibre and wireless) and advanced software (learning systems, search engine capabilities and more to come). It will prove a productivity fillip to industry, as did electricity and telephony in the second half of the industrial age. It will facilitate the creation of new products and new industries, and, as always, it will benefit individuals and households, as well as industries."
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