Digital economy plan includes small business boost

Senator Stephen Conroy has announced the national broadband strategy, including special programs to boost small business uptake of the national broadband network.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy has announced the national broadband strategy, including special programs to boost small business uptake of the national broadband network.

Australia will become “a leading digital economy by 2020,” by meeting eight goals, says the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Speaking at the CeBit technology conference in Sydney, Senator Conroy set the following eight goals for Australia:

  • Australia will rank in the top five Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) countries in the portion of households that connect to broadband at home;
  • Australia will rank in the top five OECD countries in the portion of businesses and not-for-profit organisations using online opportunities;
  • The majority of Australian households, businesses and other organisations will have access to smart technology to better manage their energy use;
  • 90 per cent of high priority consumers such as older Australians, mothers and babies and those with chronic diseases, can access individual electronic health records. In addition, by 2015, 495,000 telehealth consultations will have been delivered and by 2020, 25 per cent of all specialists will be delivering telehealth consultations to remote patients;
  • Australian schools, TAFEs, universities and higher education institutions will have the connectivity to develop and collaborate on innovative educational services that will extend the opportunities for online learning;
  • Australia will have at least doubled its level of teleworking so that at least 12 per cent of Australian employees may work away from the traditional workplace; and,
  • Four of five Australians will choose to engage with the government through the Internet or other type of online service.

The eight goals will be reached with a new Digital Economy Strategy that includes initiatives to help get small business up to speed with matters digital.

The new $12.4 million “Digital Enterprises” initiative will “provide advice to businesses in NBN early rollout areas on how to use the NBN to diversify their operations,” Senator Conroy said.

“This will assist them to improve their online presence, transact online, offer new products and services, expand their market, improve their competitiveness and increase their means of communicating with customers and suppliers.

Small Business Minister, Senator Nick Sherry, weighed in with a press release saying “by embracing the digital economy small businesses can improve productivity and maintain their competitiveness both in Australia and internationally”.

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