[LINK] Rural Australia's Internet Is So Bad It Needs Its Own Lobby Group

David Boxall linkdb at boxall.name
Wed Nov 30 15:05:21 AEDT 2016

For Australia's telecommunications infrastructure, I feel that the 
fertiliser has finally impacted the ventilator.

> Telecommunications coverage in in rural, regional and remote areas of 
> Australia is pathetic. It really is.

> 30 November, 2016
> New Coalition formed to end the data drought
> A group of like-minded advocacy groups have come together to end the 
> data drought by forming the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications 
> Coalition to champion better communications services for consumers and 
> small businesses living in rural, remote or regional areas.
> The Coalition includes the Australian Communications Consumer Action 
> Network (ACCAN), the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), the Country 
> Women’s Association of NSW, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ 
> Association and AgForce Queensland.
> “The Coalition was formed to highlight the collective concerns of 
> families, businesses and communities in rural and regional Australia 
> about the lack of equitable access to reliable and quality 
> telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia,” 
> ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin said.
> “2017 must be the year of delivering real improvements to digital 
> connectivity in the bush.”
> The Coalition has developed five fundamental outcomes as measures of 
> equitable connectivity for regional and remote consumers. They are 
> ambitious and achievable, and they reflect the pressing need for change.
> The five outcomes are:
> * A universal service obligation that is technology neutral and 
> provides access to both voice and data;
> * Customer service guarantees and reliability measures to underpin the 
> provision of voice and data services and deliver more accountability 
> from providers and nbn;
> * Long term public funding for open access mobile network expansion in 
> rural and regional Australia;
> * Fair and equitable access to Sky Muster satellite services for those 
> with a genuine need for the service, and access which reflects the 
> residential, educational and business needs of rural and regional 
> Australia;
> and
> * Fully resourced capacity building programs that build digital 
> ability, and provide learning and effective problem solving support 
> for regional, rural and remote businesses and consumers.
> NFF CEO, Tony Mahar, said that the organisation is pleased to be a 
> member of the Coalition. “Our members include some of the most 
> innovative businesses and individuals in Australia. Yet we remain 
> locked out of future economic growth and prosperity through the 
> digital divide which is undermining Australia’s productivity.
> “Without leadership and change, Australia risks growing and 
> entrenching the digital divide between urban and rural 
> telecommunications users. We risk undermining the opportunities 
> presented by digital innovation to the farming community and rural 
> Australia as a whole.”
> “Beyond growing productivity, ending the data drought is also 
> immensely valuable for rural, regional and remote communities,” 
> Country Women’s Association of NSW President, Annette Turner said. 
> “Getting better digital connectivity in the bush can have such a 
> positive impact on people’s lives and also assist in overcoming the 
> tyrannies of distance. With good connectivity, educational outcomes 
> are improved, health services can be streamlined and business can 
> flourish.”
> Wendy Hick, Federal President of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ 
> Association of Australia, said: “Access, reliability and affordability 
> of service are the most pressing communication issues for our families 
> residing in rural and remote
> Australia. ICPA welcomes the opportunity to work with those advocating 
> for a fair go when it comes to accessing communication services. We 
> look forward to contributing to discussions to ensure families living 
> and working in rural and remote Australia have equity of access to a 
> continuing and appropriate education."
> AgForce Queensland Vice-president, Georgie Somerset, said putting an 
> end to the data drought was one of the highest priorities for 
> regional, rural and remote Australians. “Effective and affordable 
> mobile phone and internet services provide an economic and social 
> lifeline for people in the bush. It’s an essential part of everyday 
> life and is vitally important for community safety, to support 
> business development, enhance children’s education and maintain social 
> connections.
> “That’s why it’s so important for all levels of government and all 
> sides of politics to collaborate with the telecommunications industry 
> to extend and improve services in the bush as quickly as possible.”
> For more information please see: www.australianfarmers.org.au
> Hashtag: #datadrought

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