This report samples and analyses public perception and media representation of the National Broadband Network during the early stages of its discussion, installation, and adoption.
The success of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in fulfilling its ambition to connect every business and household in the country, grow the digital economy, and support digital inclusion by upgrading Australia’s communication infrastructure, will be shaped by how it is understood, adopted and appropriated by end-users.
Since the project was announced on 7 April 2009 by the Labor Government, the NBN has attracted a great deal of media coverage; coupled with, at times, divisive political debate around the model, costs and technology. The rollout of the NBN is now well underway in major cities and regional areas around the country. However, the future model of broadband delivery is likely to change given the outcome of the 2013 Federal election. The new Coalition Government has promised to install a Fibre to the Node (FttN) infrastructure – in place of the previous Fibre to the Premises (FttP). Nevertheless, ongoing uncertainty around the eventual configuration of the NBN, as well as its uses and benefits are far from resolved.
A critical element, then, of NBN adoption is how the NBN is represented or framed; and, in turn, how this framing mediates public perceptions and decision-making. This report samples and analyses public perception and media representation of the NBN during the early stages of its discussion, installation, and adoption.
The study used three methods of evidence gathering: a national online survey of 2180 people to identify broad trends in public attitudes towards the NBN; an analysis of mainstream press coverage and newspaper editorials to understand the topics surrounding the NBN; and 25 qualitative interviews with various household types to gain deeper insights into how the NBN is understood in the public context.
This report builds upon previous studies by the research team into the domestic adoption of broadband, including: Broadband in the home: a longitudinal study, and Broadbanding Brunswick: High-speed broadband and household media ecologies. These studies focused on the expectations, uses and impacts of the NBN for early adopters in first release sites.