In support of telecommunications and teleworking - the NBN story
There has been a lot of discussion in the media about the recent launch of the National Broadband Network also known as the NBN.
So, how will this impact the telecommunications industry? Here’s an excerpt from the Report by Access Economics Pty Limited for the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and is titled, 'Impacts of teleworking under the NBN' (Available to download).
What is teleworking?
The term ‘teleworking’ is used broadly to refer to any work that is conducted outside of the designated place of business. This includes work undertaken at home, use of mobile devices in transit, or at a different place of business. Within this study the focus is on teleworking at home, as this is the form of teleworking where the NBN will be a key enabler.
What are the key benefits of teleworking?
Teleworking brings a range of benefits to the employee, employer and to society as a whole.
Key benefits include:
■ Time and cost savings from travel avoided – as teleworkers do not travel to work they avoid spending time in traffic, which can be used more productively for actual work, or balanced between work and leisure. They also avoid the expenses associated with travel to work, including fuel costs and vehicle maintenance costs.
■ Office expenses avoided – Avaya (2008) estimate that office space can be reduced by one desk for every three teleworkers, with associated floor space and equipment savings. There are also gains through reduced electricity consumption. However these are at least partially offset by increased expenditure for the home office.
■ Recruitment and retention gains – geographical location is not a constraining factor for teleworkers, meaning the best credentialed applicant can be employed regardless of location. This increases productivity as the successful applicant is better at the job. Additionally, when an existing employee relocates they may be able to stay on and telework, with the employer avoiding search and productivity costs associated with finding a replacement.
■ Increased workforce participation – some of those not presently in the workforce cannot work in a conventional workplace and during conventional hours but may be able to telework. This is particularly true of those who are caring for children or a family member who is ill. The ‘always open’ nature of teleworking and ability to remain with those requiring care may see some of these individuals move into the workforce.
■ Infrastructure saving – flows from both teleworkers not using road transport during peak periods, reducing the need for road maintenance and upgrades at least temporarily, and from population decentralisation as teleworkers can live outside of major city centres. As the expenditure on road infrastructure in Australiain 2007-08 by governments totalled $13.2 billion (BTRE 2009), this gain is potentially large.
The report highlighted that the NBN will be an enabler as the ubiquity and capacity of the NBN technology where there will be a greater certainty of the technological capacity of teleworkers.
The NBN will serve as an important enabler through the other technological services it unlocks. For example, high-quality videoconferencing that is available with the high speeds and bandwidth and lower latency of the NBN will improve connectivity with remote workers.
Collaborative workplaces with shared desktop viewing and other capabilities are also more readily available, which can be utilised between business offices and with teleworkers.
The report showed definitive signs of the NBN being a potential catalyst for growth in networking.
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