Framing the NBN: Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions

The report I co-authored for the Institute for Broadband Enabled Society (IBES) at the University of Melbourne is now available. “The Australian Government is building a National Broadband Network (NBN) to connect all Australians to high-speed broadband. The network has been promoted by Government and industry commentators as being increasingly important for participation in the digital economy. Yet the reported rates of uptake have been relatively low in some areas of the rollout. Research suggests that in many cases low NBN uptake is not simply a matter of people waiting for their existing Internet contract to expire or for their landlords to sign connection agreement, but relates to uncertainty of the NBN itself. This uncertainty arises from the confusing installation logistics, a fluid retail and technology environment for Internet services and a failure to communicate a clear ‘value proposition’ to the market.

726This research project builds upon previous studies into household media and communications use. These include: Broadband in the home: a longitudinal study that was previously supported by IBES and the High- speed broadband and household media ecologies project, funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). These studies have focused on the expectations, uses and impacts of high-speed broadband from a select group of early adopters.

In order to examine the uptake of high-speed broadband, the researchers are investigating and analysing the differences in consumer perceptions of high-speed broadband and its benefit. An important element is how people understand high-speed broadband in relation to daily activities and the challenges and opportunities that broadband-enabled technologies can deliver end-users. A critical element of consumer adoption rates is how the benefits of the National Broadband Network are framed, and how this framing mediates patterns of household Internet use and decision-making.

To develop a detailed understanding of the relationship between NBN uptakes – researchers are undertaking a range of analytical techniques, such as online surveys, frame analysis and interviews with people. The data obtained will provide a valuable tool for exploring the cultural, marketing and media representations driving attitude formation across consumer segments in relation to the NBN adoption” (link to the report here)

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