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Effective Telecommunications Regulation Critical for E-business in Australia
Jul 11, 2001

According to a study by Australia's National Office for the Information Economy Australia’s regulatory regime oriented towards developing e-business is the main factor why Australia ranks second to the U.S. in e-business. The world leaders are the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Hong Kong. Australia’s neighbor, New Zealand, ranked only 20th in part due to government regulation of the telecommunications industry.

The study indicates that a prerequisite to affordable internet access was a competitive telecoms market. For countries where a monopoly provider had traditionally dominated the market, e-business could not take flight unless the Government liberalised the sector.

The rankings were based on factors from telecoms infrastructure to the security of credit card transactions and literacy levels.

New Zealand's ranking is three places lower than last year, and at the bottom of the contenders - having satisfactory IT infrastructures and good business environments, but lacking essential elements for e-business. New Zealand's sliding e-business performance was recorded despite high use of computers and the internet. New Zealand was ahead of Australia and fifth in the world for the percentage of people over 16 with internet access.

The study comes amid predictions that global e-commerce revenue will go from $US 54 billion ($132.7 billion) in 1999 to $US607 billion in two years.

Last year in Australia, $A5.1 billion ($6.4 billion) in sales was generated over the internet by 38,000 companies.

The report predicts that e-commerce will boost Australia's economic growth by 2.9 per cent by 2016.

The study was based on a survey of e-business readiness in 60 countries by the United States-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The study quotes the EIU's belief that active government support is needed to promote an entrepreneurial e-business culture.

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