Remote phones, web: Time for action not more reviews


Sir –  I call again on the Federal Government to provide remote Territory residents with a standard of telecommunications services comparable with other Australians.
There is  yet another Federal Government review into remote telecommunications – the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review – which follows similar reviews in 2008, 2012 and 2015.
Currently, there are 21 remote communities with no mobile phone service, 33 with no fixed internet service and 37 connected to the NBN via unreliable or unsuitable satellite services.
The NT Government is co-investing with Telstra a further $28m over four years into delivering mobile phone and broadband services to remote Territory communities and businesses, on top of $40m already co-invested.
So far, this program has seen 23,000 residents in 45 remote communities receive mobile and/or internet services.
The NT Government’s submission to this latest Federal Government review echoes previous submissions and makes the following points:
The model of delivering NBN via satellite to remote Territorians (to 29% of the population versus 3% nationally) isn’t working for many remote Territory communities and businesses – the Federal Government and NBN Co need to look at more reliable and effective fixed wireless solutions.
[ED – This includes the farm area which is part of the Municipality of Alice Springs.]
The Federal Government has yet to meet its commitments to the NT when it comes to the Mobile Blackspots Program with mobile phone services installed at only one of five nominated sites.
Basic landline services are not being properly maintained in many remote areas of the Territory – which is against the Federal Government’s Universal Service Obligation.
Aboriginal Australians have low digital inclusion rates, exacerbating disadvantage – more work needs to be done to identify mobile phone and broadband data models that suit the cultural and economic needs of remote Aboriginal Australians.
Lauren Moss (pictured)
Minister for Corporate and Information Services


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