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High-speed broadband to deliver significant benefits for Australian households


4 September 2013:   A Deloitte Access Economics report, Benefits of High-speed broadband for Australian households, commissioned by the Federal Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, shows that high-speed broadband will transform the Australian economy and society in coming years, and deliver significant benefits to most households.  

On average, Australian households will see benefits worth approximately $3800 (in current dollars) in 2020:

  • Around $2400 in financial benefits
  • Around $1400 in equivalent monetary value of consumer benefits such as travel time savings and convenience of e-commerce

The report is about the benefits of high speed broadband and looks over the horizon to 2020, when Australia will have a fully digital economy.  It is not a cost benefit analysis, nor a comparison between different NBN policies or of the alternative ways in which broadband services can be delivered. The analysis does not include the costs of constructing and operating broadband networks.

Deloitte Access Economics Partner Dr Ric Simes said: “The report highlights the benefits of high speed broadband to the economy. As Australia continues to experience rapid changes from new digital technologies, high-speed broadband, provided via fibre, fixed wireless and satellite, will emerge as a major game changer in terms of communication, work and lifestyles.”

The average benefits for households in 2020 are estimated to be

  • Communications – social engagement and social media
  • E-commerce – travel savings, choice
  • Online services – entertainment
  • Travel savings – e-health, e-education, e-government
  • Employment – telework, travel
  • Productivity – lower prices, better quality
  • Total

The report recognises that estimating the benefits of broadband in 2020 is an exercise with an unusual level of uncertainty. The analysis focuses on some of the benefits. 

Dr Simes said: “The benefits will be varied and significant, and range from improved communications and greater choice through e-commerce, to greater employment opportunities and savings in both time and money. The quality and price of goods and services will improve as the digital economy provides businesses with new productivity-boosting applications.”

The report looks at 10 household scenarios across urban, regional and remote geographies developed by the Department in order to demonstrate the many potential financial and time saving benefits of broadband.

Impacts vary between household scenarios – for some there are significant financial benefits, but only modest time saving benefits, while in other situations, households may spend more money, but this is more than compensated by other benefits.

“The report finds evidence that the scenarios with greater impacts are where households face more challenging circumstances, such as needing to find work, undertake further education or relocate,” said Dr Simes.

“Geographically, broadband will open up opportunities for people in regional areas to better participate in the digital economy.”

The report analyses six areas of potential benefit, including communications, e-commerce, online services, employment, quality/price changes and travel savings.

It also examines other dimensions of high-speed broadband impacts, such as the take-up of broadband services, the transition costs of the digital economy, technology issues, and broader social and environmental impacts.

Summary of report scenarios

  1. Single person over 75 – Fred
    Benefits from improved health outcomes (medication compliance, reduced falls risk) and not having to travel to access government services
  2. Student under 25 – Emma
    With broadband she does not have to move out of home for university, and can do her classes online
  3. Single professional, over 25 – Joshua
    Makes use of video conferencing to avoid domestic and international travel, allowing him to study a Master’s degree
  4. Double income, no kids – Lilly and Diane
    Telework for Lilly and productivity benefits for Diane’s plumbing business bring significant financial benefits
  5. One income, two kids – Lee Lin and Matthew
    Lee Lin’s dress shop gains productivity benefits from being online, their son benefits from improved education, and Matthew and their daughter have reduced trips to medical appointments
  6. Unemployed, under 21 – Jason
    With broadband, Jason is able to improve his education and obtain a teleworking job
  7. Empty nesters, over 65 –  Marge and John
    Smart meters help them save on electricity and develop their small garden business
  8. Carer/disability household – Tom and Dorothy
    Tom is able to resume part-time work via teleworking, Dorothy benefits from improved rehabilitation and entertainment while at home
  9. Single mother of baby – Carmela
    Social and communications benefits are available from an online mothers’ group, and she is able to complete her HSC online, providing the opportunity for higher lifetime earnings
  10. Single person household – Kimberley
    Kimberley benefits from improved communications and entertainment available online. She is also able to attend stretching classes via video conferencing

Summary of benefits

Scenario Financial Saving ($) Other impacts ($) Time saved (hrs/year)
1. Fred 7,402 14,586 58
2. Emma 5,074 651 268
3. Joshua 559 13,113 -377
4. Lilly and Diane 9,673 n/a 146
5. Lee Lin and Matthew 7,458 3,367 204
6. Jason 13,074 -370 6
7. Marge and John 2,237 n/a -33
8. Tom and Dorothy 23,154 6,392 275
9. Carmela 484 6,532 14
10. Kimberley -1,844 5,367 35


NB: See our media releases and research at

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Last Updated: 


Ric Simes
Deloitte Access Economics
Job Title:
Tel: +61 2 9322 7772
Louise Denver
Job Title:
Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications
Tel: + 61 2 9322 7615, +61 414 889 857

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