Every Australian deserves access to reliable, affordable, quality voice and data services, irrespective of where they live.
This is the message the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) is delivering to Parliamentarians in Canberra today.
A delegation of representatives from RRRCC member organisations has travelled to Canberra to meet Members and Senators of the new Parliament to highlight the opportunities that connectivity presents for regional Australia and the ongoing limitations that regional consumers face.
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said ACCAN was a founding member of the RRRCC, and that the group was a great demonstration of the power of collective action.
“The RRRCC was formed in 2016 when a group of like-minded organisations came together to advocate for improved connectivity in the bush.
“Since that time we have seen some significant progress, including higher data allowances and business services over Sky Muster, funding for mobile network expansion and a new program for digital literacy.”
The RRRCC delegation coincides with the release of the fourth Digital Inclusion Index report, which reveals an ongoing divide between urban and regional consumers.
“While progress has been made, there is ongoing inequity in the access to telecommunications experienced by Australians living in regional, rural and remote areas, compared to their urban counterparts” National Farmers’ Federation Telecommunications & Social Policy Committee Chair Peter Thompson said.
Telecommunications is an essential service in a modern world, supporting social connectivity, business activity and the delivery of health and education services.
“The opportunities for connectivity to support economic development and service provision in regional Australia are significant.
The ongoing digital divide is holding us back from achieving our potential, including in agriculture where it’s estimated that widespread digitisation could add more than $20 billion to GVP,” Mr Thompson said.
“We recognise that since the RRRCC was established in 2016 there have been some great improvements and significant investment in regional telecommunications, and we want to continue the momentum and ensure regional telecommunications remains on the national political agenda and improvements continue to be made.”
The RRRCC has revised its goals for action, to take account of what has been achieved and the new challenges arising, stands ready to work with governments and industry to continue to improve connectivity for regional consumers.
The revised RRRCC goals include specific asks related to access to voice and data services, standards and reliability, mobile network coverage, affordability and digital capacity building.
For more information read the RRRCC Information booklet in the link below.