Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Digital Economy Round-Up - Issue 4

Malcolm Turnbull told the National Digital Inclusion Summit hosted by Huawei that income is the biggest barrier to bridging the digital divide.

He is, of course, using this to raise fears about the cost of broadband services under the NBN. That is a different conversation.

While the correlation between income and broadband adoption is well known, this does not mean that there needs to be a specific "broadband affordability" program. Incomes policy needs to be such that the individual consumer can afford to make the choice between having broadband or not. Broadband promotion campaigns need to convince the consumer to acquire broadband instead of, say, going to the pub.

Interestingly reports of a business group preparing to lobby the Treasurer for the first time has mentioned "The delegation is expected ... to canvass the opportunities for the digital economy to boost productivity." This is a good development given that the budget papers didn't make the connection.

The group involved is called The Global Foundation, and is a relatively high powered think tank structure I've not seen before.

But it might come as no surprise that the words above were actually sourced to Telstra's David Thodey who seems to be co-chairing their work on the "future economy".

Just as well given the demise of ATUG that at least someone in business is talking about the Digital Economy.

I've previously noted the Canadians Canada 3.0 event, which is an initiative of the Canadian Digital Media Network.

Interesting things are also happening in New Zealand. The new head of Alcatel-Lucent for the country has said "With New Zealand making an aggressive digital economy push, it's showing a belief in telecoms' potential to deliver growth."

That interest is being backed up by the Commerce Commission which has commenced a High Speed Broadband Services Demand Side Study.

Meanwhile in Australia people who do "economic development" for a living will be getting together at their annual National Economic Development Conference to discuss "Digital Economy - Future Economic Development Practices for Government, Business and Regional Organisations" in early October in Adelaide.

Meanwhile the Australian Information Industries Association (the AIIA) has rebranded itself as "the voice of the digital economy".

It seems to me we hear lots of supply side voices in this discussion, we hear a lot of government voices in this discussion - but in Australia very little from the demand side. ATUG had at least been trying through its Digital Economy Stakeholder's Forum but that is now no more.

The Internet Innovation Alliance in the US I referred to earlier has a membership of community and industry groups. However this seems more like the ACCAN meets AIIA than a genuine demand side group.

All we seem to have is our banks being unable to get their MAMBO project going. (See below)

From a 2009 report on MAMBO

The Me and My Bank Online proposal was floated by Bpay several years ago as a means of building on the member banks' successful platform for electronic bill payments.

But industry backers of the Bpay spin-off will need to demonstrate solid progress in opening the internet shopper payments market to competition before the board will withdraw its threat of regulation.

It is understood Mambo would allow individuals to register for their own Bpay codes, which they could use to enable personal online payments. So far, Bpay codes have been restricted to businesses and organisations.

The Mambo project stalled late last year following an assessment and a decision to halt funding.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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