License article

The view

If the future of broadcasting were being gambled in a poker game, you could easily imagine a scenario in which someone said: I'll see your digital revolution and raise you the NBN.

The National Broadband Network - the high-powered internet that Australia desperately needs, Julia Gillard is desperate to switch on and Tony Abbott is desperate to switch off - is a game-changer, no two ways about it.

Yet it feels the traditional players, particularly the commercial broadcasters, are only just beginning to realise how and why.

Last week, reports surfaced that Free TV members, including Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment and the Ten Network, would tackle this brave new world with a tough line on "retransmission" rights.

In fact, retransmission of free-to-air is unlikely to be the hottest issue when the NBN switches on. What will, though, is the Pandora's box of challenges the NBN will bring the traditional players. If YouTube turned anyone holding a handycam into a film-production company, then the NBN is the tool that will turn anyone with an internet connection into a broadcaster.

Australia's broadcast sector has long hidden in the skirt folds of legislative production, believing a heavily regulated sector with very little competition was the key to survival. In the digital world, the opposite is true. Competition is healthy for business because it drives innovation, and the digital environment demands innovation.

Interestingly, ABC boss Kim Dalton announced last week he would step down. Dalton is a great loss to the ABC, as he has been the spearhead from a serious technological revolution that has allowed the national broadcaster to outstrip its rivals with its iview platform. In the here and now, iview is formidable. With the NBN powering its ability to deliver content to an audience, it will become a fast and hard lesson in why laying technological bedrock is the key to delivering creative content in the digital age.