ABC reveals ideas for new network

AUSTRALIA’S national broadcaster, the ABC, has revealed its vision for its nation’s prospective $A43 billion National Broadband Network, highlighting interactive TV and high-speed news browsing in regional areas.

Abigail Thomas, head of strategic development at ABC Innovation, outlined possible uses of the NBN at the Battle of Big Thinking conference.

She said that alongside watching TV over the internet, viewers might have access to interactive murder-mystery TV shows, immersive documentaries, interactive news browsers and online games.

“You can see how the NBN can be a really powerful tool in education,” she said after showing an interactive documentary about Gallipoli.

“It’s not just one-way video or video conference to a classroom, but actually getting immersed in the story and the experience.”

The cost to the consumer of the NBN was revealed this week, with prices in Tasmania, the first installation location, ranging from A$49.95 for a 5 GB data plan at 25 Mbps to A$159.95 for 90 GB at 100 Mbps, according to Tasmanian daily The Mercury.

Rex Gardner, CEO at The Mercury, said the NBN was “not going to be reasonably accessible to everyone” because of the high pricing.

“The take up will be reasonably slow, the pencil will have to be sharpened for widespread acceptance,” he said, adding that similar plans and speeds were already available in Melbourne, where the uptake had been quite low.

Despite this, Mr Gardner said The Mercury would be prepared to offer more multimedia content on their website as broadband uptake increases.

“There’s bound to be more multi-media, particularly when you get iPads and such in common usage,” he said.

“That said, our strength lies with local news, and print is in a very good state in Tasmania.”

Source: Pacific Area Newspapers Association

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