Minister Mitch Fifield tops AdNews Power 50 list while Australia ranks 60th in the world for internet speeds

09 Nov 2016

  • Technology
  • Data
  • Marketing Technology

By: ADMA Staff

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield received top honours on Tuesday from AdNews and was named “The most powerful person in marketing, media and advertising” – just a little over a year since he came into the position. While congratulations are in order, it’s worth noting that Australia now ranks at a dismal 60th in the world for average peak broadband speed. It’s also been speculated that if Australia continues down this road, its rankings will only drop further.

While the Government has continuously tried to downplay the implications of slow internet speeds, Australians, and more importantly Australian businesses,  need to realise that this is not just another “Netflix issue”. Although it’s certainly frustrating when there’s a lag in streaming the latest episode of ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘Narcos’, businesses are facing a much bigger problem.

Without world-class digital communications, Australia’s marketing, media and advertising industry is directly exposed to escalating challenges on several fronts. As part of an increasingly global landscape, our industry sectors are fast transitioning to business models, production, workflow systems and media channels which are reliant on digital technology. All to reach, influence, engage and sell to Australian consumers who are already frustrated with the accessibility and reliability of their internet connections.

Dr Mark Gregory, a Senior Lecturer at RMIT University, points out: “'The Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was placed number 1 on the AdNews 2016 Power List Top Ten at a time when the Minister is responsible for decisions made by this Government in communications and media that will prevent Australia from becoming a leader in the Global Digital Economy and gain the full benefits of new technologies including 5G and the Internet of Things. As Point Topic data shows 86 percent of new internet connections around the world today are FTTP, yet here in Australia, Mr Fifield is responsible for a Government policy that is reducing Australia's competitiveness by building an NBN with obsolete technologies.'

Innovations which are increasingly emerging in the marketing and advertising industry such as virtual reality, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, high definition multi-steam video, gamification, cloud computing – to name just some – will be increasingly challenging for Australian marketers to implement and our audiences to utilise and consume.

It should also be recognised that the impact extends far beyond the marketing, advertising and media industry. In fact, every business sector is impacted including health, education, finance, retail, tourism and manufacturing. Overall, digital communications infrastructure is a key driver of Australia’s future economy and prosperity.

It's no secret that NBN is the government’s largest (and most expensive) infrastructure project to date and has faced numerous roadblocks since day one. The plan to deliver nationwide fast broadband was projected to cost between $29.5 billion to $41 billion back in 2013, but has since gone up to $56 billion. And due to the government's preference of FTTN technology over FTTP – the latter of which is said to be more cost-effective to run down the road – Australians have no choice but to make do with second rate internet speeds.

Despite Senator Fifield’s promises to see three-quarters of Australia fitted with NBN by 2018, there have been reports that current NBN users observed no difference in internet speeds as compared to ADSL and at least two-thirds of them want even faster speeds. These revelations bring up another question as to what is the government doing to combat the problem? And as the government continues to drag its feet about developing our telecommunications infrastructure, businesses will only continue to suffer while trying to play catch-up with the rest of the world.

Following Senator Fifield for recognition as AdNews’ most powerful person in marketing, media and advertising, we should all now be calling on him to use that power to secure our future and allow us to reach our potential on a global stage through the quick adoption of world-class digital communications infrastructure.

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