With one of the chief criticisms made of the NBN is that it's an over-engineered network, the infrastructure builder has announced two new partnerships. The company is teaming up with the University of Melbourne and the University of Technology Sydney to work on a number of research and development projects that will highlight how the network can be used.
The new agreements between NBN Co and the universities will include work on technologies such as robotics, IoT, programmable networks, data analytics and visualisation for customer experience, artificial intelligence, wireless technologies and smart cities. Although the work will be with academic institutions, the aim is to produce products that have a commercial outcome.
It's also expected the collaborations will extend to post-doctoral research opportunities and student exchanges.
In a statement, NBN Co said "Combining our technical resources with UTS [University of Technology Sydney] and UoM [University of Melbourne] in these relationships should enhance our ability to bring new technologies into the market that will help us improve the end-user experience and positively impact people’s lives".
Dr Ray Owen, NBN Co's Chief Technology Officer, added "We are committed to supporting the higher-education sector and are excited about scoping out the opportunities for R&D in the coming months".
Representatives from the two universities were, naturally, effusive about the positive benefits the agreements would bring.
While NBN Co has been much maligned over the last few years as the rollout program hit a number of significant hurdles, it seems to be taking some positive steps. It's changed the way pricing works, changed the way business can transition to the NBN and it has launched a channel program for consultants helping businesses move to the NBN.
The program continues to move forward and NBN Co is doing a much better job of being transparent and supporting businesses and others as they connect to the network.