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Conference paper
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apo-nid69273.pdf 211.98 KB

Elected on the platform that it will advance Australia towards a digital economy, the new Federal Labor Government has committed to providing high-speed internet coverage to 98% of Australian households.1 As the official policy description explains, a Fibre To The Node (FTTN) network will enhance internet connectivity and 'increase speed to a minimum of 12 megabits per second _ so fast that household entertainment, business communication and family services will happen in real time' (ALP). While advice has been sought on ways to implement the 'improved broadband services' promised for the remaining 2% of the population2, the broadband roll-out is largely mandated by the activities and needs of a metropolitan dweller, and more specifically, the needs of a young, video-streaming, multiplatform viewing demographic living in family households with several people online. This was the consensus among industry players and academic commentators at the recent Creating Value: Between Commerce and Commons conference at Brisbane's Exhibition and Convention Centre in June 2008 and is mirrored in Telstra advertising campaigns of 2007_8 featuring happy families of simultaneous surfers claiming: 'We all get on when we can all get on'. This paper challenges the implications of this metropolitan archetype in order to establish some new research priorities that can assist broadband provision and take-up in rural and regional Australia.3 It suggests that the suburban nuclear family is an inadequate model for technology use across the country as a whole and that consideration needs to be given to the range of civic organizations that are equipped to assist the Government's efforts to promote rural connectivity.

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