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ECU to research mid west broadband uptake

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

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ECU researchers are leading the way in internet technology research, working on a joint study with the Mid West Development Commission (MWDC) that looks at how people in rural WA interact with the internet.  

Starting in September, the six-month project focus on how small communities use the internet, and determine how new technologies such as wireless broadband can be used to benefit these communities.

Initially looking at the small community of Morawa, near Geraldton, the research will then be extended to the City of Geraldton-Greenough.

Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law, Dr Phil Dobson, believes the study is particularly timely with the laying of fibre optic cable from Perth to Geraldton already underway.

“This fibre optic cable will allow the use of super fast broadband in the region. To understand what factors might prevent its adoption by local residents and businesses, we’ll be interviewing existing users (and non-users) of currently available broadband.”

“For the purposes of the study, we’ll divide potential users into households and businesses with and without a dial-up connection, and look at government service providers separately,” says Dr Dobson.

By doing the study, researchers hope to analyse the local inhibitors to broadband uptake, work with the MWDC to develop strategies to demonstrate the value of these technologies for rural residents and then encourage their uptake in rural communities.

“The economic and social benefits of broadband are well recognised, and the opportunities provided by super-fast broadband are substantial, so it’s in the interest’s rural communities to be aware of the positive outcomes widespread adoption could bring,” said Dr Dobson.

Other ECU researchers involved in the study include Senior Lecturers in the Faculty of Business and Law, Dr Paul Jackson and Dr Denise Gengatharen.

For more information on the project, email Dr Phil Dobson at p.dobson@ecu.edu.au.

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