[LINK] Lag will set our broadband back: expert

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Sun Jul 5 21:11:42 AEST 2009

Lag will set our broadband back: expert
5 July 2009

An internet expert says while the Government's National Broadband 
Network will put the country on par with world leaders in internet 
speeds, Australia may still be years off the pace.

For the past decade Australian-born Paul Twomey has effectively been the 
internet's chief regulator, heading the US-based Internet Corporation 
for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

This week Dr Twomey officially left the organisation he helped 
establish, after he finished up as chief of the Australian Government's 
National Office of the Information Economy.

He has been mentioned as a possible chief of the Federal Government's 
$43 billion National Broadband Network.

Dr Twomey told ABC1's Inside Business program that Asian countries are 
at the forefront of internet technology.

"The leading 'fibre to the premises' countries mainly are Japan [and] 
Korea," he said. "The Singaporese put out a tender for gigabit to a home 
in February. [The broadband network] would certainly take Australia back 
up those ratings but you've got to remember the Government says this is 
going to take eight years to build so we're a certain period behind."

While he said he found the project "terribly exciting", Dr Twomey was 
tight-lipped on talk that he will throw his hat into the ring for the 
running of the network.

"[There is] lots of speculation, I can't comment on that at all," he said.

"There's no job as far as I know. I'm looking at a number of things ... 
I've got a couple of options I might look at in the United States as well."

Dr Twomey said the Government faces a challenge in taking on the 
construction and the application of a high-speed broadband network at 
the same time.

"If you look at what the Japanese have been doing in the last 10 years, 
they focussed a lot on infrastructure in the first half of this decade," 
he said. "Their focus now is upon smart ICT [information communication 
and technology] to solve what they call society's problems. I think the 
challenge the Government's going to have is how does it roll out a 
network and also do what the Japanese are doing now, which is focussing 
on the applications and the services, and what do you use the network for?

"The Japanese manage to do it in two stages - let's build it and work 
out how we're going to use it to solve problems.

"I think Australia's going to have to do both at the same time."


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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