Regional telecommunications review gets Govt thumbs-up

The Federal Government has endorsed nearly all of the 12 recommendations of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.

These include the need for local government, consumers, and businesses to have accessible and independent information on telecommunications services in outer urban, regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

The review, A step change in demand, set out 16 key findings in relation to Australian, state, territory, and local government coordination and investment in digital connectivity.

It was handed to the Government in December 2021.

The report also looked at the reliability and resilience of regional networks, the ongoing ‘step change’ increase in regional data consumption, and the accessibility and affordability of regional telecommunications services.

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) invited the members of the review committee to its 2021 National General Assembly to hear first-hand about the telecommunications challenges many local communities face.

Of the review’s 12 recommendations for the future direction of regional telecommunications policy, the Federal Government responded by agreeing to 11.

It noted the recommendation that data charges for low-income and income support recipient consumers in regional, rural, and remote Australia government services be removed.

The Government said this was a potentially significant and costly issue, but reiterated it is committed to looking at measures to improve affordability.