This paper considers Australia’s approach to telecommunications infrastructure from the perspectives of the policy official and the public administration scholar. From the official’s perspective, the approach has been successful in stimulating private sector investment in many markets. This has been achieved by promoting open competition and where necessary establishing a government business enterprise as a transitional measure to build and operate a next-generation National Broadband Network (NBN) to provide high-speed fixed-line broadband to all Australian premises by 2020. From the academic perspective, however, the approach reveals the shifting balances between political objectives and market challenges. This paper consists of three main parts. The first is an introduction by a former senior public servant turned public administration scholar. The second is from a policy official and provides an overview of the Australian telecommunications market, starting with some historical context, the deregulation in the 1990s and the privatisation of the former government-owned telecommunications incumbent, Telstra. The third is from a public administration scholar and provides a short complementary critique of Australia’s communications policy. The paper discusses, from different perspectives, the policy settings that have been adopted to support infrastructure competition and investment in the Australian telecommunications market, including the development of the NBN.
Madsen, A., & de Percy, M. (2020). Telecommunications infrastructure in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 55(2), 218–238. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.121