Digital infrastructure as a determinant of health equity: an Australian case study of the implementation of the National Broadband Network

Ashley Schram, Sharon Friel, Toby Freeman, Matthew Fisher, Fran Baum, Patrick Harris

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Inequities in access to fast and reliable internet connections, essential for digital access to services and information that are important for health, can exacerbate social inequalities in health. We evaluated the social equity of the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia based on the type of digital infrastructure delivered to areas of varying socioeconomic status. We found that areas of greater socioeconomic disadvantage were significantly less likely to receive the highest quality infrastructure, controlling for level of remoteness. These social inequities in provision of quality infrastructure will shape and possibly exacerbate inequities in health. In our discussion we consider how political decisions have obstructed equitable implementation of the policy. Lessons from the Australian case study may be valuable for other countries investing in public digital infrastructure who want to ensure equity of provision and can also inform Australian policy in the NBN's remaining rollout.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)829-842
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Volume77
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

    Keywords

    • Health inequity
    • social inequality
    • social determinants of health
    • digital infrastructure
    • policy implementation
    • health inequalities
    • social inequity

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