Connecting Communities is an independent review of the impact of broadband on communities in Britain and its implications for Australia.
“The full value of broadband includes outcomes around an educated citizenship, an informed democracy, cultural understanding, community and inclusion, social capital, resilience and trust.’
UK Broadband Stakeholders’ Group
‘Talking to a doctor on screen? Just the same as being in the room with them. Better, I felt I had more time with the consultant in Aberdeen than if I’d gone there.’
‘Communities and citizens that lack high speed broadband access are at a deficit in comparison to their peers.’
London School of Economics
‘We need to make sure that people aren’t left behind as more and more services move online.’
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
“The movement of fast broadband is transformational for Australian, with more far reaching potential for reducing the ‘tyranny of distance’ geographically and socially than the UK. The report suggests that if the investment is significant so is the return, for the nation and not just Treasury, for people not just plumbing. The dangers of a divided society with differential access to modern public services and bandwidth needs to be avoided.”
Dr Tim Williams
“In the current age, it is the cities whose governance, infrastructure and communications best enable such collaborations to flourish – and who harness most effectively the energy, talent and creativity of the people who live there now or who might be attracted there – will be the most innovative , will secure the most investment and will attract the most talented.” Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO, Chair, Committee for Sydney
Cities can no longer expect to advance their agendas for growth, inclusion and sustainability without technology. While technology in its broadest sense has always been part of the engine of growth and innovation for successful cities, in the modern global city and in the knowledge economy driving its development, technology and urban management have become fused. In fact, so woven together in fabric of our cities and our experience of them, that technology should not be seen as separate from urban living but integral to it. As one urban thinker puts it, the focus must now be on the way citizens and communities create culture, successful urban living and opportunity with and through technology: “Technology is culture; it is not something separate…we cannot choose to have it or not. It just is, like air”.
“Technology is important to the extent it can enable or accelerate the speed and impact of knowledge and ideas flowing easily across new and spreading networks of people and institutions. And to make that work, what matters is culture, practice and governance, not just technology.
Today, broadband offers every community the opportunity to move from the periphery to the centre in economic terms. It creates new kinds of companies like Yahoo and Google, even whole new industries. It enables small companies to be global exporters – including the export of skills and knowledge which were never before transportable across time zones or national borders.
It can ensure that schools in remote regions and inner cities have access to the latest information tools and reference sources. It can link rural healthcare providers to leading medical centres and local law enforcement to national information grids. Individuals and businesses can go global in search of low-cost, quality vendors, and Web-based tools can increase community involvement.
By boosting the economic and social well-being of communities, broadband can reduce the incentives for their young people to move away in search of opportunity and a better quality of life.
Paradoxically, it can play a key role in giving communities a sustainable future in our ever-more-connected world.
“the new Digital Era provided for us by the NBN will allow Armidale and the New England Region to shift gears economically and introduce new diverse trading models that will challenge current business models, but grow jobs for the region”