Published on Nov 2, 2015

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Telecommunication services provided to regional and rural Australia has been put under the microscope in a new independent review.

The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) released its report, handing down 12 key recommendations including a requirement that major road projects in regional Australia incorporate telecommunications upgrades as a funding precondition.

RTIRC said the federal government should also ensure the most was being made of the NBN rollout, particularly in the extension of the Fixed Wireless footprint which could improve mobile coverage by acting as a substitute for satellite.

The RTIRC used real life examples and experiences of regional and rural people’s use of telecommunications to help build the report and hand down findings.

Federal Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said the report showed how important mobile coverage was to regional Australia, and how the NBN rollout could help improve networks.

“People living in regional Australia rely heavily on telecommunications in their everyday lives and the Government will give careful consideration to the Committee’s recommendations before providing a response,” Minister Fifield said.

It’s a big country

Australia’s population is by and large clustered around the coast where climate and conditions are more favourable than the harsh interior.

People in cities are generally well-serviced when it comes to telecommunications, but it can be a different story for those is regional and rural areas.

The RTIRC report states about 70 per cent of Australia’s land mass has zero telecommunications coverage.

The people that are missing out are the people that need it most; the real tyranny of distance is that those who supply us with beef and grain and other resources are isolated not only by geography by also technology.

Click here to read the full RTIRC report.