30 April 2024

Connectivity issues in the bush under scrutiny as Aussies are invited to have their say on telecommunications

| Chris Roe
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The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee has opened for submissions.

The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee has opened for submissions. Photo: Telstra.

A month after Telstra’s nationwide outage and less than six months on from the infamous Optus systems crash, the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee has opened for submissions.

The review is held once every three years and will deliver recommendations to the Federal Government based on feedback and findings.

“Access to telecommunications services is critical for regional residents and businesses across so many aspects of everyday life,” said chair Alannah MacTiernan.

“We want to understand the lived experience of these services so that future policy actions are well targeted and backed up by evidence.”

The review will examine the suitability of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia and include a list of particular issues identified in the Terms of Reference.

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These include issues of awareness and impact of government investment, understanding of changing and emerging technologies, emergencies and natural disasters and how needs are being met in First Nations communities.

Residents, businesses and community organisations are encouraged to take a look at the Review Committee’s Issues Paper and make a submission.

“We are focused on how the universal service arrangements could be modernised to meet today’s needs, the potential of emerging technologies, the effectiveness of existing government investment programs, and the improvement of telecommunications in emergencies,” said Ms MacTiernan.

“With technology changing rapidly we also want your ideas about how things can be improved and what would make the most difference for you and your community.

“We really encourage Australians in the bush to have their say via a submission or completing the survey in coming months, while we continue our face-to-face consultations across the country.”

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In the last month, the committee has visited Western Australia and Tasmania for face-to-face consultations with more locations to be announced shortly.

A report will be delivered to the Australian Government by 31 December and the committee may make recommendations to the government, to which it must respond.

To have your say visit the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee’s page.

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