Telecommunications services are vital to participate in modern society. Business, education, health, social and safety activities all rely on connecting with others, and those without functional and reliable telecommunications services risk being left out.
There has been great progress towards ensuring all Australians can access telecommunications services. The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) by NBN Co Limited (nbn) is welladvanced and on track for completion by 2020. Significant investment from mobile carriers and the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program has improved mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia. People in regional areas have been quick to take up the opportunities provided by these technologies and, as a result, have realised a range of economic and social benefits.
This review aims to gain a better understanding of how regional Australians use telecommunications services. In particular, it is focused on understanding any barriers to using digital technologies faced by people in regional communities and how these can be overcome. With many government, business and retail services now provided online, the Committee wants to better understand the telecommunications landscape for Australians living and working in regional areas, and examine what is needed going forward.