Airbnb has warned that Australia’s digital ambitions could be curtailed by the “slow speeds and connectivity instability” of local internet infrastructure.
In what could be taken as veiled criticism of the NBN, the company has urged a “bipartisan approach to Australia’s internet infrastructure, to ensure that Australians (and visitors to Australia) have access to world class internet speeds".
It said the growth of the industry in which it exists - sometimes called the ‘sharing’ or ‘gig’ economy - as well as the future of many digital jobs “can be supported through increased investment in internet infrastructure".
“Growth in the digital economy has placed extra pressure on Australia’s internet infrastructure and will require investment to ensure that the opportunities and growth into the future are not impeded by slow speeds or connectivity instability,” Airbnb said.
The comments come at a time of political division on how to approach the remainder of the NBN rollout.
Buoyed by a joint federal inquiry, Labor has ramped up calls in recent months for fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) technology to be set as a minimum standard in the remainder of the fixed-line footprint.
The government has remained steadfast, rejecting the calls and insisting its own multi-technology mix (MTM) strategy continues to be the right approach.
However, ongoing problems with parts of the NBN, such as delays to fix the performance of the HFC network, as well as sizable numbers of complaints, have allowed Labor to maintain the pressure for change.