- The Regional Telecommunications Review (The Review) has recently released its issues paper and is calling for submissions.
- The review will look at telecommunications services in regional, rural, and remote Australia and how adequate and reliable these are, not to mention consider the impact of government policies and programs.
- The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review will also be considering ways to encourage smaller telecommunications providers to improve what information they provide the public about their services.
The Regional Telecommunications Review (The Review) has recently released its issues paper and is calling for submissions. The consultation paper is an opportunity for those who live and work in regional, rural, and remote areas of Australia to share their experiences with and views on telecommunications services in their area.
The paper puts forth 16 questions as regards telecommunications, and is focused on three areas, namely: adequacy, opportunity, and awareness. Individuals, businesses, and other interested organisations may send in submissions beginning July 6, 2021 until September 30, 2021, at 17:00 AEST.
Why is the review needed?
The review will look at telecommunications services in regional, rural, and remote Australia and how adequate and reliable these are, not to mention consider the impact of government policies and programs. Insights from COVID-19, up-and-coming technologies, regional development, and coordination between tiers of government will likewise be scrutinised.
What issues will be reviewed?
The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, chaired by former Nationals frontbencher Luke Hartsuyker, is particularly interested in exploring more ways to help regional users access and make the most of their telecommunications services. The committee will also be considering ways to encourage smaller telecommunications providers to improve what information they provide the public about their services.
As for broadband, the committee wants to know about people’s views on the different broadband access technologies that regional communities and businesses use, and if these are affordable and reliable. The committee will also look at how effective the Universal Services Guarantee is in ensuring access to baseline broadband connectivity in regional Australia, not to mention the delivery of fixed voice services in the future.
As far as mobile services are concerned, the paper states that 99.5% of Australia’s population is covered, but only 33% of the Australian landmass is covered, thereby creating challenges. In that light, the committee wants to examine the effectiveness of the Regional Connectivity and Mobile Black Spots program in addition to pinpointing ways to support regional communities through transitioning to 4G services.
The committee will also welcome feedback and views on methods for maintaining or even increasing the reliability of telecommunications networks in times of stress, along with feedback on the use of telecommunications services for education and health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barriers to access and effectiveness of government initiatives to facilitate distance learning and telehealth are of particular interest.
Emerging technologies like LEOSat constellations, the Internet of Things (IoT), and regional data centres to boost mobile edge applications will also be examined.
How can people participate?
Those who wish to participate may download the issues paper from the Regional Telecommunications Review website and submit a comment on the same website, or email the Committee Secretariat.
All submissions should include the contact name and - if applicable - an organisation name, as well as contact details (including telephone number, postal, and email addresses). When submitting a comment or view, one may also state whether their views may be published or if they’d rather they be kept confidential.
For more information, contact CBB at 1300 106 571.