Tag Archives: NBN

Maximising the impact of the NBN in the Hume Region

The recent Hume Digital strategy emphasised that the region needs to maximise the impact of the NBN in order to enable future success. The report acknowledged that there are some big challenges including:

  • Supply gaps and unmet needs in the region
  • Time – it will take up to ten years to roll the NBN out across the region
  • Not all areas will receive 100Mbps

The RDA Hume Committee dedicated to implementing the strategy have committed to:

  • Ensuring good working partnerships between the three tiers of government via the Hume strategy partnership group, NBN Co and other broadband and mobile providers
  • Increasing the use of and access to existing public sector networks
  • Exploring the creation of regional data centres in and for the Hume Region

Some longer-term actions that the region will examine include:

  • Generating innovative solutions for improving wireless broadband supply
  • Aggregating demand for and purchasing of high-speed broadband services to reduce cost and improve quality
  • Exploring how to aggregate demand for and purchasing of of high speed services to reduce costs and improve quality

CASE STUDY: Public Sector Demand Aggregation – HumeNET
The HumeNET fibre, serving the Hume Regional Alliance, formed in 2006 and built on the former HumeNET Ltd and the Hume ICT Alliance, runs HumeNET, a broadband network linking healthcare centres. Service areas encompass acute health, community and primary health, and some local GP network connections. The Hume Rural Health Alliance spans regional hospitals, 14 community health providers and nine health information service providers. One of the local users of HumeNET, the Alexandra District Hospital, is consistently recognised as one of the leaders in the delivery or rural healthcare and has received awards and nominations in the Victorian Healthcare Awards every year since 2006.
As a member of the Hume Rural Health Alliance and long term user of the HumeNET fibre network, the experience of the hospital points to the opportunities associated with high-speed broadband access, but also where there remain important obstacles for further participation and use.

Do you have an opinion on how to maximise the use of the NBN in the region? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

The content from this post was extracted from our Digital Strategy which is available for download here.

Hume Region Digital Strategy

RDA Hume recently released the Digital Strategy for the Hume Region. Over the coming weeks we will be blogging about the five key strategy focus areas which are:

  1. Maximising the impact of the NBN
  2. Striving to get “all online by 2017″
  3. Working towards transforming public services and community engagement
  4. Encouraging digitally enabled business
  5. Marketing Digital Hume

Please join the conversation via Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime the strategy can be downloaded on our Digital Strategy page.

13th June Webinar Recording

Thank you to everyone who attended the Digital AgricultureHow high speed broadband and digital technologies will help you increase profitability and productivity webinar yesterday evening.

Here is a recording of the webinar for those who want to recap on some of the topics discussed or for those who missed it.

Please leave your comments and feedback below. If you liked the webinar please share the recording by clicking on one of the social media icons below.


Learn How Digital Technologies Will Help Your Agribusiness

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.

Prepare Your Business For The Opportunities With The NBN

Fergal Coleman – Director of Symphony3 recently presented on the how businesses can prepare for opportunities presented by the NBN.

Below are the slides of the presentation. Some great information there on using the NBN, how your business needs to change and what are the benefits.

After you view the slides let us know via twitter how you have OR plan to prepare your business for the digital economy.

[slideshare id=22101633&doc=digitalbusiness-broadband-20may20130519-130528224135-phpapp02]

Run through some of our diagnostics to prepare your business for the NBN.

Smart Homes – How Will They Help?

The Broadband Smart House Project

The goal of the Broadband Smart House project is demonstrate the use of the real-world applications of the NBN, including home automation, remote health monitoring, video-conferencing, rehabilitation, education, remote business, sensor monitoring, and environmental sustainability.(Source: RDA Northern Inland, 2013)

A smart home in Armidale, NSW has been created to conduct live workshops & demonstrations on the benefits of this new technology. The house is fitted with functioning installations where a typical family of four can try out the new technologies. At first instance the house will also be used by local TAFE and University students to trial and demonstrate various cutting-edge projects across a range of areas.

Continue reading

Digital Local Government at the City of Moreland

In our latest update, we speak to Peter Fitz – project manager for Moreland City Council‘s Digital Local Government project, in Brunswick. Brunswick is home to one of the early test sites for the NBN, and the council is looking at how the network can be used most effectively.


Moreland Council will use the NBN to improve their customer service via a tool called Moreland Connect. This allows residents to connect to council staff via a video-calling system, using computers at home or work. This allows staff to consult with residents about council issues, such as planning or service improvements. The project pilot is currently limited to the small NBN footprint, but will treble in size in the next 12 months .

An additional benefit will be the ability to film some of those customer encounters, with appropriate permissions, to create video stories that can be watched later – particularly important for after hours communications, when council offices and staff aren’t directly accessible. Later, they will also use the service to give people access to forms and other documents, allowing them to do business with the council after hours.

The service is funded by Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, and will launch in October 2012; increasing in size over next 2.5 – 3 years. For Moreland, it marks a shift towards a more complete customer service experience.

Peter notes that YouTube is currently the second most popular social media site, attracting hundreds of millions of viewers – and it is an important area for local government to explore. However, the content that we put online will be important. “If we make things boring,” he explains, “no-one is going to use it. Part of our challenge is to increase the content, make it interesting, and use the medium.”

Earlier this week, we covered Peter’s award-winning work on “Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communications” – using visual storyboards and animations to communicate across language barriers. If you missed it, you can read that article here.

Content is king! Peter Fitz, Moreland Council.

We spoke to Peter Fitz at Moreland City Council, about the importance of visual content online, and how to make your content compelling. Peter’s work on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communication (CALDCOM) has recently won the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Award for customer service excellence, and the National Multicultural Marketing Award for the Government Category.


Moreland is an extremely diverse council region, where residents speak 132 language groups, and half of the local households speak a language other than English at home. The council initially had translated material available for eight languages, leaving the others to ‘fend for themselves.’

Simple messages and using vision conveys a lot more meaning than dot points on a website. The NBN enables this to be taken to the next level – taking whatever graphics you have and bring them to life. We’ve started animating our drawings, testing them with different migrant groups, neighbourhood house settings, ESL courses, and they work well. While the project began as a way of communicating with CALD audiences, it soon became apparent that this was a powerful tool for communicating with the wider community. People can learn about council business far more quickly via images and video.

The storyboard approach has helped address many community problems by helping to get issues from the classroom into conversations at home. Council service issues, such as improving recycling and reducing contamination, and social issues such as gambling, bullying and domestic violence have used this approach so far.

In a recent example, a truckload of asbestos-containing building materials were dumped on a roadside. When council staff arrived on the scene, they found children playing in the hazardous material. Door-knocking in the area revealed that only one of the 25 nearby households spoke English. The council has now created a storyboard that staff can use to quickly communicate the danger of handling asbestos waste.

The time and effort required to create a storyboard varies, depending on the complexity of the issue – though the cost of production and distribution is coming down, as better software and NBN access become available. Boards typically have 6-8 cells: introducing the issue, finishing with call to action, and tackling 2-3 things in between.

Visuals like storyboards and animations quickly convey meaning. Peter notes that writing for them is always a challenge, as you can’t do everything. Treat them as conversation starters instead, to get the audience thinking and asking questions. YouTube has shown that people can create small videos, without needing huge productions, that can can help to solve problems.

NBN and Digital Economy Readiness at City of Wodonga

Following on from yesterday’s interview with Sue Beatty, we also spoke with Matt Taylor – acting Economic Development officer at City of Wodonga.


Wodonga is due to have NBN access in September 2014, and the council has been preparing for the digital economy over the past year. To date, they have already have conducted information sessions for local businesses, including visits to the Melbourne NBN Discovery Centre and the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct.

The council is currently planning a series of digital seminars with their local chamber of commerce, covering a range of topics including marketing skills and more effective use of business management functions.

Local businesses mostly fall into two categories: those on the “front foot” where new technologies are concerned, and those that worry about being overwhelmed. Matt’s advice for business managers is to embrace the change: look closely at what the digital economy can do for their business, and what they can do to utilise the digital economy to open up new markets – interacting not only with the local economy, but with markets across the country and overseas.

Some of Wodonga’s manufacturers, retailers and education bodies are already well positioned to take advantage of the digital economy. The council is looking at how they can most effectively facilitate introductions between these groups, helping to link businesses to the services and tools available to them.

Digital Readiness: Skills, Participation and Access

Digital Readiness Pyramid

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:

  • Skills
  • Participation
  • Access

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.