Farmer utilising regional telecommunications infrastructure

The completion of the NBN build means a broadband infrastructure upgrade for most Australians, but there remain many that are underserved. Some are still waiting for NBN to become available and others for upgrades, while in many remote Indigenous communities last mile infrastructure is badly needed. There is strong demand for increased mobile network coverage in regional, rural and remote areas, as well as on transport corridors and high-risk emergency areas. Technology used to deliver fixed voice services in remote and rural areas is aging and unreliable, and many premises are still connected to ADSL outside NBN’s fixed footprint with no adequate future plan for service transition if ADSL is withdrawn. 5G networks are rolling out but availability is limited, and consumers are concerned about the impact the withdrawal of 3G may have on access to services. Consumers are concerned about the impact that spectrum changes will have on their use of technology, including telecommunications services and television delivery platforms.

 

We will advocate for place-based solutions to better match infrastructure to the needs of consumers, whether over NBN, smaller fixed line networks, local fixed wireless, mobile, or last mile connectivity. We will engage with Federal, state and territory governments to deliver ongoing funding for infrastructure improvement programs. We will work with industry to ensure co-funded programs meet consumer needs. We will focus on future service delivery arrangements that support the best outcomes for regional and remote consumers, small businesses, and poorly served remote Indigenous communities. We will keep a watch on 5G rollouts and monitor plans to withdraw 3G, advocating for full transparency about the costs, limitations and implications of these services and network changes. We will ensure that consumer interests are considered in spectrum reforms, including those proposed in the Media Reform Green Paper.