Study Finds Australia Set to be the Most Connected Continent on the Planet

Australia is set to be the world's most connected continent following the completion of the nbn™ network rollout in 2020, according to new research released today.

Developed by Western Sydney University, the Gen nbn™: 2020 and Beyond report (opens in a new window)provides an in-depth analysis into how advancements in technology and nationwide access to fast broadband will transform all aspects of the Australian way of life.

It predicts 'gen nbn™', Australia's newest and most connected generation, will benefit from better business opportunities and flexible-working arrangements as well as access to leading education and healthcare services.

Photo of a highway of lights leading towards a sunset.

Bill Morrow, CEO of nbn, says "Our vision is to build a world-class broadband network that ensures greater connectivity for all Australians."

"By 2020, every home and business will have access to the nbn™network, creating a new way of living as the nation begins to benefit from ubiquitous access to fast broadband," he says.

"Greater connectivity creates greater digital demand, and once we have the infrastructure in place to meet this demand we will see significant economic and social impacts across the country."

"As with every major infrastructure project, there will be a transition period as we move from the old to the new."

Lead researcher, Liam Magee from Western Sydney University says: "The completion of the nbn™ network can see Australia become the world's most connected continent in terms of broadband access, affordability and speed tiers.

"Our research shows this will help to build a stronger national economy, provide better career pathways, optimise the delivery of innovative healthcare services and implement sustainable futures for our cities and regional towns," he says.

"In the twenty-first century, connectivity has become a new kind of capital, more valuable than natural resources and industrial manufacturing, as digital services driven by access to the nbn™ network are predicted to boost Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by around 2 per cent every year by 2020."

The Gen nbn™: 2020 and Beyond report (opens in a new window)predicts:

  • The internet of everything – Increased connectivity and digital innovation is rapidly penetrating every facet of day-to-day life. By 2020, technologies such as drones, 3D printers, Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as home automation will become deeply entrenched in homes and workplaces. These technologies will help transform our lives and enable better connectivity with family and friends as well as provide access to a range of new entertainment options. By 2025-2030, there are likely to be well over 50 billion devices or apps connecting everything from our fridge door to our home security systems, which will be enabled to run concurrently over the nbn™ network.
  • Rapid growth in medical innovations – Digital technology in health care is increasing exponentially with the advent of big data, advanced video conferencing systems and 3D printing. By 2020, telehealth services, enabled by the nbn™ network will be able to connect regional, rural and remote areas with access to affordable and convenient GP and specialist healthcare appointments, saving up to $3 billion in annual health costs. By 2025, it may be possible to use big data to predict widespread disease outbreaks and by 2030 we are likely to see 3D printing drastically enhance the ability to produce medical aids and prosthetics.
  • E-change movement will continue – Access to fast broadband in regional towns and rapid adoption of teleworking is leading people to migrate away from the major cities to regional hotspots. From now to 2030, the nbn™ network will be a critical enabler to the success of home-grown start-ups across the country and will help to facilitate access to new markets and business opportunities while still enjoying their country or coastside lifestyles. Close to 400,00 Australians workforce currently work from home; as fast broadband becomes more widespread, these figures could as much as double by 2025.
  • Jobs of the future – Connectivity is driving innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) disciplines spurring a transformation of the Australian job market. Health, education and technical services are expected to employ over 4.3 million Australians by 2030, up from the current 3.5 million jobs. From now until 2030, we will see a huge increase in online educational resources and services offering better teaching facilities to upskill our nation in key areas such as health and technical services, to harness careers in data science, coding and bio-chemistry.

There are almost one in three homes and businesses around the country which can already connect to the nbn™ network, with the rollout scheduled to be complete by 2020.

Original media release by NBN (opens in a new window) 

Posted: 3 February 2017