COVID-19 exposes broadband gaps

August 28, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has increasingly highlighted shortcomings in Australia's National Broadband Network, Flinders University experts say.

With access to high-speed broadband (HSB) and the internet via the NBN now central to people's livelihoods, education, healthcare delivery and even social connections, the Flinders University researchers say the "short-term politics of the 2013 federal election" led to decisions which caused an expensive rollout and current problems with the network.

"Our research shows that the way Australia's NBN was implemented has meant that access to HSB is expensive compared to other countries," Flinders University Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity researcher Dr Matt Fisher says in a new paper.

"This contributes to more than one million Australian households not having an internet connection at home."

The paper, 'Implementing Policy On Next-generation Broadband Networks and Implications for Equity of Access To High Speed Broadband: a Case Study of Australia's NBN' published in Telecommunications Policy, examines NBN policy and implementation from 2008 to 2018 through Australian Government policy documents and interviews with experts.

"We found that equity considerations competed with political and commercial imperatives during the rollout of the NBN," the Flinders Southgate researchers conclude.

"This resulted in positive and negative consequences for equity of access to HSB, with a change in policy and implementation in 2013 bringing greater risks to equity of access."

Dr Fisher says the NBN rollout also created differences in the quality of HSB services in different areas. "This is likely to mean that people already well-off will gain more health and social benefits from the NBN than those less well-off.

"As work, education, employment, healthcare and other social services increasingly go online, the inequalities built into the NBN could add to health inequalities in Australia."
-end-
The paper is part of research funded by the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Social Determinants of Health.

Read the paper online - Implementing Policy On Next-generation Broadband Networks and Implications for Equity of Access To High Speed Broadband: a Case Study of Australia's NBN by M Fisher, T Freeman, F Baum, A Schram and S Friel has been published in Telecommunications Policy (Elsevier) DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2020.101911

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2020.101911 Volume 44, Issue 7, August 2020

Flinders University

Related Healthcare Articles from Brightsurf:

How to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19
Researchers are developing simple and inexpensive tools--like a DIY ventilator--to treat patients more effectively and prevent disease transmission in hospitals.

Healthcare as a climate solution
Although the link may not be obvious, healthcare and climate change -- two issues that pose major challenges around the world -- are in fact more connected than society may realize.

Healthcare's earthquake: Lessons from COVID-19
Leaders and clinician researchers from Beth Israel Lahey Health propose using complexity science to identify strategies that healthcare organizations can use to respond better to the ongoing pandemic and to anticipate future challenges to healthcare delivery.

Poor women in Bangladesh reluctant to use healthcare
A study, published in PLOS ONE, found that the women living in Dhaka slums were reluctant to use institutionalised maternal health care for fear of having to make undocumented payments, unfamiliar institutional processes, lack of social and family support, matters of honour and shame, a culture of silence and inadequate spousal communication on health issues.

Women and men executives have differing perceptions of healthcare workplaces according to a survey report in the Journal of Healthcare Management
Healthcare organizations that can attract and retain talented women executives have the advantage over their peers, finds a special report in the September/October issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, an official publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Greater financial integration generally not associated with better healthcare quality
New findings from a Dartmouth-led study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, show that larger, more integrated healthcare systems do not generally deliver better quality care, and that there is significant variation in quality scores across hospitals and physician practices, regardless of whether they are independent or owned by larger systems.

Wearable sensor may help to assess stress in healthcare workers
A wearable biosensor may help monitor stress experienced by healthcare professionals, according to a study published in Physiological Reports.

Healthcare innovators focus on 'quality as a business strategy' -- update from Journal of Healthcare Quality
Despite two decades of effort -- targeting care processes, outcomes, and most recently the value of care - progress has been slow in closing the gap between quality and cost in the US healthcare system.

How runaway healthcare costs are a threat to older adults and what to do about it
Empowering Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, accelerating the adoption of value-based care, using philanthropy as a catalyst for reform and expanding senior-specific models of care are among recommendations for reducing healthcare costs published in a new special report and supplement to the Winter 2019-20 edition of Generations, the journal of the American Society of Aging (ASA).

How can healthcare achieve real technology driven transformation?
Real transformation in healthcare through the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, telecommunications, and other advanced technologies could provide significant improvements in healthcare quality, productivity, and access.

Read More: Healthcare News and Healthcare Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.