On 30 April 2018, the Minister for Regional Services, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced the 2018 Regional Telecommunication Review. The Minister asked that we have regard to the regional rollout of the National Broadband Network, the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Government’s commitments to a review of consumer safeguards and the Universal Service Guarantee. The committee was also asked to consider how to maximise the economic benefits for regional communities through the use of digital technologies.
During the course of the review, the committee met with hundreds of regional, rural and remote people to conduct a health check of existing telecommunications services and better understand the barriers people in regional communities face when it comes to using digital technologies and services.
Public consultations were held in 22 regional locations and we received over 380 submissions from a range of individuals and organisations. We appreciate the time and effort that everyone put into attending meetings and preparing submissions.
Much has happened since the 2015 review – more than 96% of premises in regional Australia can now access the NBN or have construction underway. Over 600 Mobile Black Spot Program towers have been deployed, with the fourth round of this program commencing shortly.