Preliminary comments on BSEG report

Tom Worthington tomw@ccadfa.cc.adfa.oz.au
Wed, 1 Mar 1995 16:43:35 +1100


Here are some preliminary comments after a quick reading of the summary and 
recommendations of the "NETWORKING AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE", the final report of 
the Broadband Services Expert Group into new communications services 
launched in Sydney 11:00am Wednesday 1 March 1995 by the Prime Minister. 
These issues will be discussed in detail at the ACS's 
InfoBahn/Multimedia/Internet conference, 13 May 
(http://acslink.net.au/~tomw/conf95br.html).

The Government should be congratulated for making the report available on the 
Internet (http://www.dca.gov.au/intro.htm) at the same time as the launch.

In general the report is much as expected, addresses some concerns with the 
interim report and incorporates many of the recommendations in the ACS 
submission to BSEG 
(ftp://archie.au/ACS/ACS-policy-networking-abstract-draft.txt). Issues of 
privacy, pornography and public interest will need to be addressed in more 
detail.

* The interim report had a "Pay TV" flavour to it and did not sufficiently 
address the possibilities of the use of narrow bandwidth networks 
(particularly the existing Internet) as a path to a broadband network. The 
final report corrects this deficiency and addresses this issue and includes 
support for the Internet.

* The report adopts many of the recommendations of the ACS submission, with 
slight rewording and a bit less funding.

As an example:

- the ACS recommended: "grants for community-based applications and 
prototypes... $2 million available per annum, rising to $10 million"

-  the BSEG recommended: "innovative applications of communications services 
by the community sector. Initial funding of $10 million should be made 
available over three years".

Issues of privacy, pornography and public interest are mentioned in the 
report. However these are difficult issues which will need much more 
attention by both Government and the community.

The ACS currently has a joint task force with Electronic Frontiers Australia 
on "Freedom in Cyberspace", which is addressing the issues of BBS regulation 
in detail. The task force will prepare draft recommendations to Government.

Here is a potted summary of the ACS BSEG Submission: 

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Vision for a Networked Nation


ACS public interest submission to:

ASTEC Working Group on Research Data Networks 
Broadband Services Expert Group 
Bulletin Boards Task Force 
Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science, Technology, Transport, 
Communications and Infrastructure 

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Information infrastructure for Australia

Internet model 
Not telephone or broadcasting model 
Public policy measures are identified 
Social equity, multi-media literacy and network civil rights 

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Public Interest Protection

universal access to a basic level of service 
for consumers, community groups, incorporated associations and small 
businesses 
for sectors dependent on government funding: 
education; research; health; and libraries; 
civil rights 
freedom of access to information; 
freedom of communication; and 
freedom from monitoring. 

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Government

Leadership 
have a policy 
targeted funding during the early years 
Co-ordination - sponsorship 
public policy advisory body 
regional public interest summits 
development and use of open, non-proprietary standards 

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Government Measures

grants 
not just Co-operative Research Centre for Research Data Networks 
community-based applications and prototypes. 
research implications of the technology and its applications 
government agency participation 
connect the Australian Parliament to the public 
government data freely available over the NII 
make sure intellectual property laws enhance creativity 

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Government Regulations

Adapt existing laws for networked environment 
balance interests of owners of data and users of data 
remove obstacles to diversity among carrier- technologies, carriers and 
services 

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Tom Worthington		Ph:  +61 6 2474830	Pager: +61 6 2856209
Director of the Community Affairs Board		Fax:   +61 6 2496419
Australian Computer Society Inc.
G.P.O. Box 446, Canberra A.C.T. 2601, Australia
E-mail: tomw@acslink.net.au	Home page: http://www.acslink.net.au/~tomw/