2008 Australia - Government, E-Health, Energy and Tele-education Markets

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Last updated: 11 Mar 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 114

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

Subjects covered include:  

·         Government policies to stimulate the digital economy;

·         Government initiatives to fund infrastructure for the digital economy;

·         Industry initiatives regarding FttH infrastructure and smart grids;

·         Digital media strategies for local councils;

·         Local broadbanding case studies;

·         Smart grids as green telecoms, carbon trading, environmental issues;

·         Market and industry analyses;

·         Market statistics and forecasts.


Researcher: Paul Budde  

Current Publication date: March 2008 (1st Edition)  

Next Publication date: March 2009  

Executive Summary

Education and Healthcare

The Internet and associated Web 2.0 technologies have greatly increased the potential for, and quality of, remote education and the ‘virtual classroom’.


Tele-education is becoming increasingly important in training health professionals in remote areas. In an effort to lower costs and provide training and education to a wider audience, corporations and universities are adopting e-learning solutions. This report examines e-education in terms of both tele-education (teacher-based) and e-learning (student-based). Case studies on the use of e-education in other countries are also provided. The Labor Government made this a key element of its election campaign. The report addresses the topic in a global context. For more information, see chapter 1.3, page 9.


E-health is fast shaping up as one of the key killer apps on the truly high-speed broadband networks. New technologies are increasing our life expectation and improving our lifestyle, but the costs involved in this are enormous and we simply can no longer afford to finance these huge advances through the public health systems. In countries with proper broadband infrastructure we see e-health shaping up as a way for us to enjoy these advances in medical technology and medical services at a more affordable cost. This report provides an overview of the developments occurring in the e-health market. It includes an analysis and some projects. For more information, see chapter 2, page 51.


Some advantages of e-health

Reduced travel

·          patient and doctor travel is minimised

Improved lifestyle

·          patient and aged care monitoring

Improved consultation

·          local medical staff can consult with specialists anywhere in the world

Cost savings

·          reduced hospital and related travel costs

Improved services

·          specialist hospitals can spread their expertise more widely

Training and education

·          students can watch an operation being performed thousands of kilometres away

(Source: BuddeComm)


E-Government and Utilities

Technology has consistently powered ahead of legal regimes all over the world, and the telecommunications arena is no exception. Digitalisation and the Internet have raised a myriad of legal issues, from legitimacy of electronic documents, through censorship and privacy, to cyber crime. While Australia might not be listed in the Top Five, it is certainly a leader in e-government. For more information, see chapter 1.1, page 1.


Last year the federal, state and territory governments suggested a national rollout of energy-saving smart meters, commencing in late 2007. Trials are underway in all states, some using off line solutions, others narrowband communications. However, this meter overhaul is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to propel Australia to the forefront of this development – let’s not waste it. A smart grid is needed to save costs and energy. Such a network would make economic sense, be good for the environment, cut operational network costs and open up opportunities for new home automation and home networking business opportunities. The new government is expected to take a broader approach in 2008, and it will consider the opportunities offered by smart grids. Developments are also known as Utilities Broadband or Broadband Utilities. For more information, see chapter 4.2, page 79.


Municipality Broadband

Given the increased awareness of broadband, cities, regions and communities are beginning to understand the social and economic benefits that broadband can bring to their communities. It is therefore of critical importance that cities take charge of the development of their knowledge-based environments. A proactive local government is a vital element in the development of broadband to the point where it can begin to deliver community benefits in education, healthcare, community services, job creation and export. This report introduces the Broadband Agenda that should be developed by cities, and the strategies that should flow on from there. It is essential that councils become actively involved in the National Broadband Network. For more information, see chapter 1.4, page 22.


Key highlights

·         The government’s $1 billion injections in e-education and e-health will give a boost to this somewhat stagnating market.

·         This could become an anchor project for FttH – the government’s $4.7 billion investment in infrastructure will boost e-health and e-learning and will also have a multi-billion dollar effect on the e-economy.

·         Growth in e-learning is estimated at around 25% per annum.

·         Australian universities and educational institutions are experimenting with the use of virtual worlds for education and training purposes.

·         The government has estimated that $30 billion could be saved over a 10-year period through e-health.

·         Australia was an early leader in e-government, but it has since been overtaken by others.

·         E-governance should include privacy and security policies, existence of publications and databases, contact information, and overviews of available online services.

·         Filing tax returns online is becoming one of the most widely used e-government services.

·         Smart grids are now an accepted development – the utilities industry accounts for 20-25% of carbon emissions, so smart grids can provide significant environmental improvements.

·         In the USA excess capacity on smart grids is used for broadband services.

·         The industry has calculated that a $35 billion infrastructure investment is required between now and 2030 – $10 billion has already been committed.

·         Local councils will need to become more involved in digital media and the associated essential infrastructure. Municipality broadband is a concept around which they can show their leadership.

·         There will 5 million broadband-enabled households towards the end of 2008.

·         The lack of affordable high-speed broadband (including its effect on quality) is inhibiting the market.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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