MOVING BEYOND THE DATA DROUGHT
<pThere is a hive of activity and public debate about the future of energy policy in Australia, particularly given rising electricity prices.
The current debate about insufficient public investment in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in rural and regional Australia is suffering from a lack of economic analysis on the potential benefits that increased investment could bring.
While politicians and investors are increasingly heralding the importance of agriculture to the Australian economy, the reality is that the businesses and communities driving the so-called ‘dining boom’ continue to struggle to access affordable and reliable internet services.
The ‘digital divide’ between city and country unfortunately continues to grow. This is partly due to the fact that Australia is one of the most urbanised, sub-urbanised and citified places in the world. Developing infrastructure that meets the nation’s unique demographic and geographical challenges, and serves the needs of rural businesses is never easy.
Rather than dwelling on the negatives, we must re-frame the issue and focus on the opportunities for investment. Current underinvestment in ICT infrastructure is potentially costing the Australian economy billions of dollars each year in lost productivity