[LINK] NBN low income scheme
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Oct 25 18:52:40 AEDT 2011
Discounts needed for low income earners to access NBN: ACCAN
Advocacy group argues that not every Australian will be able to afford
fibre broadband access
Hamish Barwick (Computerworld)25 October, 2011 15:20
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has
proposed a broadband low income measures scheme, including discount
wholesale prices, to enable Australians earning $26,000 a year or less to
access to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Speaking before a parliamentary joint committee on the NBN in Sydney,
ACCAN chief executive, Teresa Corbin, said that under the scheme, ACCAN
would like to see NBN Co providing discount wholesale prices for retail
service providers such as Infoexchange, which could than provide cheap
internet services for low income consumers.
That would mean people with a healthcare card should be able to access
these services if they chose to, she said. This is becoming important
because we have entered an age where internet access is important in
Another proposal is setting up more public internet kiosks across
Australia in addition to current services provided by libraries and high
At present, a lot of these public access programs are state based but
there needs to be a national approach taken to this by the government and
NBN Co, she said.
Another proposal would be to turn every public telephone box into a Wi-
Fi access spot which they currently do in Hong Kong as a free service.
The genesis of ACCANs broadband low income measures proposal was
research into the digital divide conducted by the Australian
Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) earlier this year.
It found that 2.6 million Australians did not have access to the internet
via mobile or a fixed line service and that this was unlikely to change
even after the NBN was rolled out due to broadband costs.
When that study was broken down, 62 per cent of the 2.6 million had
incomes of less than $25,000 while 53 per cent were aged 55 years or more
and a majority of the respondents lived in non-capital city areas,
The ACMA study also found that one third of the respondents still used
the internet via a library or a school while 42 per cent indicated that
they used internet services outside the home because cost was a factor
and home connections were too expensive. We are very concerned there
will still be a digital divide going forward because in some areas the
only service might be an expensive satellite or wireless service, she
Whilst we think that overall the NBN will be significant leveller we are
concerned that people who cant access the internet now, wont be able to
even when the NBN rolls out.
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