SHELLHARBOUR City Council is working towards developing a digital strategy to ensure government, businesses and residents can best harness the opportunities presented by the implementation of the National Broadband Network.
Small areas of Shell Cove, Oak Flats and Shellharbour have already been connected to the network, while other suburbs in the region have been identified in NBN's three-year introduction.
The council has partnered with Regional Development Australia Illawarra and neighbouring councils to seek input from community members, local businesses, industry sector organisations and government agencies to develop the strategy.
The most recent workshop featured former Tasmanian premier, now IT consultant, David Bartlett.
"It's important that we know both the threats and opportunities that come with new technologies such as the NBN, and are ready for them," Mr Bartlett said.
"There are great opportunities for this area with the continued roll-out in the NBN.
"One is online tourism and encouraging people to get involved in sites like Airbnb.
"Another is near-shoring. Large companies in the past have been off-shoring telecommunication sectors, but now that costs are reducing they are near-shoring them out to areas like Shellharbour and Wollongong."
Shellharbour City Council's economic development officer Trevor James said the workshops had been a success.
"We've had a range of different people come along and take advantage of these workshops so that they're in the position to take advantage of the technology," he said.
"The input that we've received during the workshops will then be passed on to our consultants and what we get back from them will then be used in the strategy."