Without leadership and change, Australia risks growing and entrenching the digital divide between urban and rural telecommunications users.
The Rural, Regional and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) has been formed to highlight the collective concerns of families, businesses and communities about inequitable access to telecommunications services in the bush.
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 – undermining Australia’s productivity.
We firmly believe that access to better communications services across regional Australia will lead to better outcomes for the entire nation.
As a Coalition, we believe there are five fundamental outcomes that must be addressed to ensure equitable connectivity for regional and remote consumers. These are:
- A universal service obligation that is technologically neutral and provides access to both voice and data;
- Customer service guarantees and reliability measures to underpin the provision of voice and data services, to 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 for those with genuine a need for the service, and access which reflects the residential, educational and business needs of rural and regional Australia
- Fully resourced capacity building programs that build digital ability, and development of effective problem solving support for regional, rural and remote businesses and consumers.
These outcomes are ambitious, achievable, and reflect the pressing need for change.
However, they cannot be achieved without leadership and cooperation from government, opposition parties and the private sector. A united ongoing commitment and strategic approach is needed.
The RRRCC will be leading a public campaign on these issues over the coming months.
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