Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 404. Updated Tuesday, 08 April 2014

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CSIRO up in the air over wireless spectrum

A new report focusing on the threat of 'peak data' and how it could affect the way Australians connect and access essential services has been released by the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Director of CSIRO's Digital Productivity and Services Flagship, Dr Ian Oppermann said wireless technology had been adopted at "breakneck pace" in Australia.

"The data rates that people now expect from their mobile services are about a hundred times the amount we thought possible only two decades ago," Dr Oppermann said.

'Peak data' posing a threat

"Some estimates suggest that spectrum demand will have almost tripled by 2020, and existing infrastructure will need to rapidly expand its currently available capacity if it's to meet this demand."

Dr Ian Oppermann said the report, World Without Wires, pointed out that wireless communications relied on the availability of radiofrequency spectrum.

He said the spectrum had practical limits and more spectrum could not be created so we were faced with a finite resource and growing demands to use it.

Dr Oppermann said today's technologies and infrastructure would be hard pressed to support further increases in demand, both in terms of speed and volume, for wireless data and services over the coming decades.

He said many global cities were fast approaching the point of 'peak data' - where user demand for wireless internet, telephony, and other services could no longer be fully accommodated by the available radiofrequency spectrum.

Dr Oppermann said World Without Wires examined the role that ubiquitous access to high-speed wireless connectivity would play in enabling a range of future applications and social developments, including the replacement of digital TV and telephony services by internet-based, personalised streaming services.

It also looked at the widespread use of wireless positioning technologies, from making driverless cars the norm to enhancing retail experiences through "virtual concierges", and "tele-services" as the default model of service delivery for government and businesses, with education, healthcare and other public goods being delivered via private digital networks.

To access a copy of CSIRO's World Without Wires Report visit this PS News link.

To find out more about CSIRO's Digital Productivity and Services Flagship visit this PS News link.

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