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Aussies love for wireless broadband saves $7.4 billion


Australia’s rapid take-up of wireless broadband has boosted economic productivity and better equipped business to weather the global financial crisis, according to a leading economist.

Dr Paul Paterson of Concept Economics says a study looking at the economic impact of wireless broadband estimates that if take up continues at current levels there will be an ongoing annual productivity dividend to Australians of $7.4 billion - the equivalent of $250 for every household.

“Since Telstra switched on its Next G™ network in 2005, Australians have really embraced wireless broadband. This rapid take-up has put our economy on a better footing to deal with the economic downturn,” Dr Paterson said.

“The study found there are further gains to come with 58% of small and medium businesses already using 3G services planning to expand their use of mobile broadband this year.”

Dr Paterson said wireless broadband had become an essential business partner, helping streamline processes, make better use of time and generate new business.

"Costs are mounting for the small business community - from high cost of credit due to increased risk loadings, exchange rates impacting costs of imported equipment and compliance costs. The study shows that for many Aussie businesses, technology supported by wireless broadband is a key solution.

"In this environment it is essential for small businesses to retain and enhance their international competitiveness. The central role of information and communications technology (ICT) in doing this has long been recognised by economists, with wireless broadband a critical part of this dynamic in these challenging times.

“Video conferencing, mobile payments, inventory management, large information data transfers and vehicle tracking are among the most popular applications small businesses are expected to embrace in 2009.”

One of 305 small companies surveyed by Concept Economics, Exit Films, used Next G™ mobile broadband to collaborate with editors and communicate with the investors while filming the soon-to-be-released movie ’The Last Ride’.

Producer, Antonia Barnard, said mobile broadband was able to solve logistical challenges caused by the Melbourne editing suite and shooting locations in the Flinders Ranges being 700 kilometres apart.

“Things you take for granted such as mobile phone coverage and Internet access suddenly become very important. As a result of using the Telstra Next G™ network we estimate that we saved over $30,000 in costs and many hours in lost production time as well,” she said.

On one occasion, $15,000 was saved after editors matched to the film a critical image of salt flats that production staff had taken on location and emailed to Melbourne, preserving valuable production hours.

Last Ride Director Glendyn Irvin explained the benefits of using the Telstra Next G™ network.

“It was almost like we were back in the studio because of the ability to send files over email and get feedback quickly from editors,” he said.

“They would tell us if we needed additional pick up shots while still on location. The worst nightmare would have been if we had to do additional shots and return to previous locations.”


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