Discrimination: NBN Intentionally Rolling Out Faster Connection to Richer Suburbs

July 5, 2017

Richer suburbs are not the only ones who deserve fast connection and service.

Richer suburbs are being prioritised in being provided access to the fibre technology offered by the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout than areas that are experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, According to a new analysis reported by The New Daily.

Researchers at the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity have discovered are “definite trend” in which they explained as when the area has poorer socio-economic conditions, the lesser homes and businesses receive fibre technology. This just means that poorer areas will only experience what experts dub as “inferior” technologies, such as wireless, HFC or satellite.

There are only 29% of homes found under the lowest socio-economic tier that was given access to fibre technology, whether fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

Australian National University’s Dr. Ashley Schram, the leader behind the analysis, explained that if the “concerning” trend continues, it may lead to a  “digital divide” wherein the socio-economically disadvantaged are viewed to have a technological disadvantage. Moreover, people who are living in poorer neighbourhoods will need to pay for upgrades in order to experience faster internet speeds.

“The NBN was meant to address equitable access to the internet for all Australians regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. Looking at this trend, it doesn’t seem to be achieving that,” Dr. Schram said as quoted by The New Daily.

“If when the NBN rollout is complete we are still seeing the same picture, I would be very concerned. The pattern suggests it’s entrenching inequitable access to better digital infrastructure in higher socio-economic areas.

“If areas already facing disadvantage need to pay for infrastructure upgrades to access the same level of technology in higher socio-economic areas in 10 or 20 years’ time, this will have contributed to a deepening digital divide in Australia.”

Image Courtesy: Cnet.com