Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia: RTIRC Submission

Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia: RTIRC Submission Hearing

  • Author(s): BIRRR
  • Published: 2018

Abstract: The Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia (BIRRR) group was founded in 2014 due to a lack of information, advocacy and support for bush broadband consumers. In particular, those requiring equitable telecommunications for their businesses and education of their children. There are now almost 11,000 active, engaged BIRRR members from every state and territory of Australia. BIRRR are a volunteer based advocacy group which operates entirely on the goodwill of its members. Rural, Regional & Remote (RRR) consumers are extremely reliant on effective communications, due to the nature of their geography, and this also heightens the need for effective representation. The BIRRR team has undertaken extensive large-scale research on regional telecommunication needs. Previously there have been few studies and limited research into this specific consumer group. BIRRR appreciates the opportunity to submit to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC). Equity of service is essential for RRR consumers, irrespective of where they choose to work and live. The contribution to the Australian economy made by RRR residents and businesses far outweighs the current infrastructure expenditure on telecommunications for these regions. To highlight, each person in the Quilpie Shire, Queensland contributes $250,000 to the economy, compared to Brisbane’s $70,000 per person ( RAPAD, 2016). To ensure RRR productivity and growth and to keep people living in RRR areas, voice and broadband services must be accessible, affordable, reliable and equitable. Essential services such as health, in RRR areas are already lacking. Mental and physical health, education, business productivity, tourism, economic growth and innovation would all benefit from improved telecommunications in our regions. The BIRRR team is on the ground in RRR areas every day, troubleshooting thousands of cases. The team is made up of six volunteers who are all rural women that have dedicated countless volunteer hours to ensure RRR telecommunications issues are resolved. The very reason for the existence of the BIRRR group is the reluctance of communication stakeholders to offer reliable services with efficient customer service and transparent information to RRR consumers. With over 250,000 website hits and hundreds of requests for help each month, BIRRR highlights the need for RRR consumers to be able to access user friendly telecommunications services that meet their specific needs. Every Australian, irrespective of where they live or work, should be confident they can access quality, reliable, accessible and affordable voice and broadband services with customer support guarantees. Numerous enquiries, reference groups and research have already been undertaken. BIRRR urges RTIRC to acknowledge that now it is the time to be proactive and solve the telecommunications issues raised in these reports, with a serious commitment policy and action, to ensure that RRR areas are not disadvantaged due to their population and postcode.

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Suggested Citation
BIRRR, 2018, Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia: RTIRC Submission, Hearing, viewed 26 October 2020, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=17937.

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