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Deloitte research says NBN a winner for households

Productivity, telework the big pluses, says government-commissioned study

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As Australia races towards a federal election likely to kill off the country's current model for a national broadband network, the (probably) outgoing government has released a report saying the annual value of the network to households will be in the order of $AU3,800.

The study, by Deloitte Access Economics, suggests that most of the benefits – $AU2,400 – will be in direct financial outcomes.

However, it would take until 2020 for these benefits to be realised, the report notes.

The government commissioned the forecaster to evaluate the benefits the National Broadband Network would bring by making Australia a “fully digital economy”. Its finding is based on the forecaster's assessment of the household impact of more e-commerce, more online services, new employment opportunities, and savings in travel costs through telework.

Naturally enough, given the dire position the government appears to be in ahead of the federal election, both the prime minister Kevin Rudd and communications minister Anthony Albanese have welcomed the report, with a joint statement saying the NBN would “benefit every family in the country”.

As might be expected, the report also found that differences between households would give rise to different impacts: telehealth services would deliver big wins for the aged or those caring for disabilities, and teleworkers would naturally enough derive huge benefits from the NBN. Deloitte finds no particular difficulty in believing that by 2020, there will be household customers seeking out gigabit services, but the bulk of services would probably still be in the 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps range. ®

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