Govt is key to NBN success: Tiley

LOCAL government needs to be a major player in helping communities take full advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout.

That was the message from Clarence Valley councillor Ian Tiley when he addressed an NBN seminar in Tamworth recently.

In his keynote address at the University of New England, Cr Tiley described the NBN's rollout as "an exciting new digital era" which local government needed to be involved in.

"There is no doubt that the NBN can make a huge difference to the lives, lifestyles and wellbeing of all Australians," he said.

"(And) there is no doubt that local government, the closest tier of government to the community, has a vital role in shaping thinking about how best to realise the potential of the NBN."

Cr Tiley quoted Deloitte Access Economics, which recently stated that the direct contribution of the internet to the Australian economy was set to increase from $50 billion to about $70 billion over the next five years.

He said there was also considerable economic benefits for councils and their communities through the opportunity to engage in co-investment projects with NBN Co, such as the undergrounding of power, network maintenance and upgrades, streetscaping, new bridges and road corridors.

Cr Tiley said the NBN rollout could help Australia become a global leader in high-speed video, data and voice services.

"There is no doubt, in my view, that local government can play, and is playing, a vital role at the local community coalface level to ensure the benefits of broadband will be equitably and widely enjoyed," Cr Tiley said.

"Worldwide, there is a wealth of evidence that municipal governments are heading towards a seamless transaction-based relationship with customers."

Cr Tiley said there was much local government could do in terms of the planning process, such as providing the NBN Co and its contractors with information about planning controls, heritage conservation areas, Commonwealth land and facilities, and proposed major development sites.

"There exists in communities with which I connect an ever-heightening expectation of an exciting, more productive, knowledge-based future."

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