The National Broadband Network (NBN) will deliver High Speed Broadband speeds to everyone in Australia. By 2015 farmers in the remotest parts of Australia can expect to start receiving high speed broadband services that will change the way they work and live.
To help business owners understand the benefits of the technology Digital Agriculture are running a webinar on the 13th of June.
Visit the webinars event page to learn more about registering for the event and who should attend.
With 12 keynote speakers and 58 breakout and poster presentations the conference offers the chance to interact with some of Australia’s most innovative business leaders, academics and regional development organisations, as well as farmers and farmer peak bodies, to set the scene and increase general awareness of delegates across a range of challenges and opportunities. See Professor David Lamb from UNE talking about the Conference running in Armidale 26-28 June 2013.
For the latest in our series on local government Digital Economy planning, we spoke to Will Rickwood from Indigo Shire Council, covering the Beechworth, Chiltern, Rutherglen and Yackandandah regions.
Will talks about businesses in the Indigo Shire that have been highly active online: from the earliest days of the web, to the widespread adoption of social media. Will discusses examples such as web developers WWW.ART (previously covered in our Case Study series here) and Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewers (who have built a strong following on both Facebook and Twitter). Winemakers from around Beechworth and Rutherglen have also combined blogs, websites, Facebook and Twitter to promote the region online.
Successful businesses share a willingness to innovate and find new ways to improve their business promotions, online sales, and access a variety of other advantages. Barriers to the adoption of online tools include skill shortages within businesses, and a lack of time to explore them properly – especially among small retailers. Local government also has an important role to play in raising awareness and providing training to businesses, in order to prepare them for the digital economy.
The Indigo Shire also contains numerous examples of how the local community can work to promote their region online, such as the Beechworth Online website, official visitor guide and mobile app. The council hopes to apply this approach to online tourism promotions to other areas across the region.
The three preparation areas: skills, participation and access
Research and consultation undertaken by ARUP in the Hume region in March, April and May 2012, indicates that there are three broad areas that the region must focus on to prepare for the NBN and the Digital Economy*. They are:
Access can be viewed as the platform on which participation and skills are built. Access requires initiatives to ensure that the whole community gets access to high speed broadband. This may include partnerships between organisations (eg a collective of businesses, or businesses and local government) to supply interim broadband services to sectors of the community that won’t get NBN services in the short term.
Participation looks at initiatives that will ensure effective use of digital services. This includes leadership initiatives that drive the required change in the community to adopt digital tools . This may include initiatives at a regional level similar to the national Digital Champions initiative.
Skills focuses on developing training and services that improve digital skills and understanding in the community and promote the importance of the digital economy to the future well-being of the region.
*The Digital Economy Strategy for the Hume Region will be published in July 2012.
Do you have any ideas or comments as to how we can build digital readiness in the areas of skills, participation or access? We’d welcome your input via our comments form below.