Title: The spatial justice implications of telecommunication infrastructure: the socio-economic status of early national broadband network rollout in Australia

Authors: Tooran Alizadeh

Addresses: Griffith School of Environment, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia

Abstract: Since the formation of the Australian National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co.) in April 2009, the NBN rollout has been gradually announced following a range of engineering and logistic criteria. However, the early rollout gives the release sites a regional competitive advantage against other localities that might have to wait up to a decade to receive similar infrastructure. This leads to an important question about the socio-economic status of the NBN release sites, and the potential impact of the upcoming broadband infrastructure on the social discrepancy across the nation. The answer to this question then leads to a second question about the degree to which the NBN or any telecommunication infrastructure for that matter should be incorporated in planning and policy development for spatial justice. In an attempt to explore these questions, this paper examines the ranking of the 60 earlier NBN release sites in the socio-economic indexes for area, and accessibility/remoteness index of Australia. Findings are in line with the recent research that emphasises the role of infrastructure in intensifying social divisions.

Keywords: national broadband networks; NBN; Australia; socio-economic status; rollout plans; telecommunications infrastructure; spatial justice; critical infrastructures; broadband infrastructure; social discrepancy; social divisions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2015.072156

International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, 2015 Vol.11 No.3, pp.278 - 296

Received: 15 Jan 2014
Accepted: 10 May 2014

Published online: 02 Oct 2015 *

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