Local, Independant and Effective
March 03, 2016

More must be done to improve telecommunications for regional Australians

Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed the Government response to the 2015 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Report. The review looked at whether people in regional and rural Australia have equitable access to telecommunications services compared to those delivered in metropolitan centres.

“Progress has been made,” Ms McGowan said. “Indi has benefited from 30 mobile phone towers in Round One of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, and the NBN rollout to 44 towns is underway. However, more needs to be done for people to have equitable access.”

Ms McGowan supports the Government’s decision for the Productivity Commission to undertake a review into the future requirements for Universal Service Regulation (USR). The Commission will also review the consumer safeguards framework and how it will be structured, delivered and funded. 

“I also welcome the Government’s continued commitment to support the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. They do an excellent job representing and advocating,” she said.

“Many people living in regional Australia pay higher internet and phone bills than their city counterparts. Any changes to the USR and consumer safeguards must be fair to rural people, and I call for the USR to be extended to mobile phones and internet.”

Ms McGowan has successfully lobbied NBN for increased fixed wireless coverage and the removal of download restriction and increased capacity from satellite.

“The Government has recognised co-location will increase fixed wireless coverage,” Ms McGowan said. “Allan’s Flat residents successfully petitioned for co-location to get better internet and will have fixed wireless as a result. I will keep lobbying NBN to co-locate with mobile phone towers.”

Read the Government’s response online.

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