The most critical element to the success of the fibre network will be the infrastructure company that will operate it. The infrastructure company will have to make critical architectural and design decisions for the open wholesale-only company which will form the basis of this new infrastructure for at least the next 25 years. It will be essential for the network to facilitate the vision laid down by the government, which will include multiple use of the network by other sectors such as healthcare, education, energy, etc. At the same time the company will need to ensure that it remains an infrastructure company and doesn’t become another telco.
Following the vision will come the actual design and rollout of the national broadband networks (NBNs). Thanks to government leadership, Australia was the first country to tailor the vision to a national purpose. The USA soon followed and is now also showing real leadership, and the Netherlands and New Zealand are also on the right track. Economic and trans-sector innovations are now key items on the political agenda of these countries.
There is no silver bullet and each unique situation generates its own alternatives, which in turn inform others involved in similar national projects. The vision gives rise to the creation of social and economic strategies that need to be taken into account in the design and architecture of the infrastructure. Pragmatic solutions need to be developed to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and other resources. Underserved areas need to receive priority and local communities and councils can play a key role in this. Wireless broadband can play a major role as well. These early projects could also be an ideal testing ground for trans-sector applications.