Speech at the official opening of Macquarie Telecom IC2 Facility
FRI 21 SEPTEMBER 2012
Subject(s): Digital Economy & NBN
It's great to be here to share this celebration with you.
Two decades ago was indeed a remarkable time for telecommunications.
In 1992, the World Wide Web was just months old. Our first ISPs were starting up.
Telstra was created and Optus came to our shores as part of the reforms that also gave rise to Macquarie Telecom.
And a year later, cable TV was introduced.
This was the beginning of the digital revolution that would change our economy and our society forever.
So much so that as Prime Minister I can read my Cabinet papers on an iPad, I can trouble my staff with emails from my BlackBerry and I can lecture at length on the benefits of the Application that enables you to count rows when you’re knitting on your iPad.
Anybody who wants to hear the full lecture about the merits of the row counter App can see me afterwards. It mightn’t be for everyone but it will be for some of you.
So the benefits of the digital world are compelling and they were spoken about this morning very eloquently in terms of people with disabilities and what I can mean for their lives.
Economically, the Internet directly contributes $50 billion a year to our economy and that’s set to increase to $70 billion by 2016.
Each 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration can add 1.3 per cent to the GDP of a high-income country.
And yet here in our own nation, as a share of GDP, the Internet generates around 25 per cent less in Australian than our peers in other developed markets.
That's a sign we didn't get everything right in the '90s.
By leaving Telstra as a vertically integrated monopoly, and only cabling up the richest areas of our cities, the biggest and hardest parts of the job we needed to do were left undone.
That is until now.
With the NBN, we leap those two hurdles in one jump.
Telecommunications in this country will finally be fully contested and competitive and high-speed broadband will reach every home and business.
Few investments will be more important to Australia's success in the Asian century than these investments.
Here, among this group, I'm preaching to the converted.
You know the benefits of competition because that's what gave you a start back in 1992.
And you know the benefits of universal high-speed broadband because it will underpin your work for the next 20 years.
In fact, I understand that IC2 is regarded by Macquarie Telecom as a companion investment to the NBN, and our development of the NBN gave your company the confidence to build this project right here in Australia.
So it's a great investment in local skills and capacity and it's a $60 million vote of confidence in the NBN itself.
As we roll out world-class broadband to homes and businesses around our nation, the world-class services that will be hosted in centres like this will become available to all Australians.
As a government, we believe high-speed broadband is too important to be confined to the lucky few who the market has chosen to serve.
I know that Macquarie Telecom shares this vision.
IC2 is the kind of place where our digital future is being created.
So much of that future is about the exchange of ideas and the exchange of data.
From confidential credit card numbers to top-secret communications, we need to be able to move that information around.
Just as the NBN provides the solution to moving this data around, Macquarie Telecom and its peers play a key role in answering the related questions about where to store it.
Data security is of course fundamental to the trust that people, corporations and governments place in the Internet.
So this IC2 facility is a place of security and is a place of trust.
Here your customers, including the highest levels of the Australian Government, will expect our information to be stored safely.
And I'm told that Macquarie Telecom's facilities have the highest level of accreditation for information security in Australia.
I'm also delighted by the work you've done to make this building sustainable, making use of waste heat to provide cooling which reduces the demand on energy-hungry air conditioners.
And this is an Australian facility on Australian soil, providing an additional level of security for your customers.
The Government will have more to say on this in the coming months as we consider broader cloud computing policies.
Here today on this day of celebration, I think we should see the potential of what is being achieved here.
It really is leading the way to the future of a high-skill, high-tech, high-wage economy that can win in the Asian century.
If there was ever a time in our history to invest in innovation, this is it.
If there was ever a time in our history to invest in smart technology, this is it.
If there was ever a time in our history to invest in schools and training, then this is most certainly it.
And now is the time to invest in a National Broadband Network, which is exactly what we are doing.
I know we can be, with these kinds of policies, the nation that gets it right. Let’s be that nation.
Just like we did in those historic reforms that gave rise to Macquarie Telecom two decades ago.
I proudly declare the IC2 facility officially open, with high hopes for the contribution it will make to our nation's prosperity and success in the future.
Thank you very much.