NBN-Powered Networking To Switch On a Third of Australia's Economy by 2050
Nick Gilbert
at 15:27 PM Jun 14 2012
NBN-Powered Networking To Switch On a Third of Australia's Economy by 2050
What will our future look like?
Stefano Costanzo, Creative Commons
Tech // 

A new reportcommissionedby IBM has projected that up to 35 per cent of Australia's $4 trillion revenue in 2050 will be in industry areas that will either be radically transformed by, or birthed within a super-fast, NBN-powered future.

The projected $1 trillion worth of broadband-powered national revenue will represent a near eightfold increase over the current amount of $131 million, says the report prepared by market researcher IBISWorld.

The founder and Chairman of IBISWorld, Mr Phil Ruthven said today at the report's launch, in reference to the below graph, that national GDP is expected to skyrocket into the future as a result of new digital technologies referred to as the 'new utility' of the future.

"We're really saying that the second stage of this particular age [referred to in the report as the Infotronics Age] started around 2007, and that's the new utility which I've already briefly described, and it's just climbing into space. 

"So if anybody's ever miserable about their own future, or of the future of their children or grandchildren, forget it. The best is yet to come."

Of Australia's 509 industries, the key beneficiaries will include retail, mining, health care, public administration, science services, education and transport.

Telecommunications alone is expected to make up 40 per cent of an average household's mobility expenditure within 40 years, according to the report.

"I think the most important thing is not to fear the future."The study says that the next iteration of broadband technologies, characterised by "ubiquitous high-speed broadband plus analytics, learning systems and cognitive computing," will be the next big utility in human history, following on from the internet itself, telephony, electricity, steam and the wheel.

This utility will facilitate a growth in Australia's services industry, with the report projecting that inbound tourism fuelled by our own industry growth in tandem with development in other Asian countries will total $175 billion annually by 2030 - the same amount earned by our mineral exports today.

The goal of the study was to try and model how this kind of technology would influence the Australian economy in a variety of specific industries, not just in the short term, but all the way up to the year 2050.

About a total of 1 per cent of Australia's current industry by revenue generated will cease to exist. These projected industries include newspapers and magazines, books, DVD rental and cinemas, and free-to-air broadcasting.

A panel at the event also tackled the idea of fear around technological change, particularly in the climate of political discussions around broadband infrastructure and social change.

"Well, I think the most important thing is not to fear the future," said panellist David Kennedy, Practice Leader for the Asia-Pacific arm of research analyst Ovum.

"What we've seen around the world is that we're in a period of great disruption. A lot of what we've taken for granted in the post-War period is breaking up before our eyes, and there are two sort of responses you can have. The first is that we have to defend what we have, we've got to try and protect the old system, throw everything we;ve got into keeping that going. You can see that happening right now in Europe, that's exactly what they're doing.

"The alternative is to say no, there's a real opportunity here, and we have to be prepared to adapt and change to purse that opportunity."

The report can be downloaded in full from IBM's website.

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