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The 2019 monsoon trough event exposed both strengths and weaknesses in the resilience of the Gulf Savannah region, its communities, its businesses, its families, and its people. A key factor influencing the region’s response and recovery to the disaster relates to digital connectivity. This includes the capacity of people in the region to take advantage of existing telecommunications services, and the strength and resilience of mobile and broadband infrastructure itself.

In a cohesive and resilient response, this project has supported the Gulf Savannah to bring together property owners, councils, communities, development organisations, businesses owners, technical experts, and telecommunications service providers to collaboratively identify and define mobile and broadband challenges during the 2019 event and the recovery phase. Funded under the Queensland Governments’ FNQ and NQ Monsoon Trough (Category C Flexible Funding) Grants Program, the aim of the project has been to develop legitimate, practical, and affordable options for individuals, businesses, and organisations to get connected, and pathways to developing greater digital capability to respond to challenges and to capitalise on opportunities in the future.

Taken together, the qualitative and quantitative research identified and grouped types of needs (at individual, family, and community level) and responses (ranging from quick wins to long-term propositions) for consideration in proposing solutions. A comprehensive assessment of the needs and responses can be found in the Needs Analysis and Technical Audit reports that accompany this strategy document. Within this document, Section 5 outlines overall priority areas for solutions and opportunities for digital connectivity in the Gulf Savannah that cut across geographies and sectors. Then, Section 6 proposes a suite of 10 solutions which inform place-based connectivity packages.

Broadly, the solutions identified include three broad approaches:

  1. strategies to lift the capacity of people in the region to use existing communications infrastructure;
  2. strategies to support families, businesses, and communities to close last mile gaps to accessing existing services and infrastructure; and
  3. strategies aimed at resolving the larger scale infrastructure gaps in the region.

Now the project is completed, this document provides the evidence base needed to support the Gulf Savannah to establish strong delivery partnerships that will enable the effective implementation of these proposed solutions. The key project partners will now plan out the most appropriate implementation pathways, bringing the community together with service providers, and state and federal agencies.

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