Better connectivity coverage is needed for rural business and communities to thrive, says Federated Farmers.
It is good the Government pledged they will invest in delivering broadband and mobile coverage to 99.8% of the population over the next four years, says Feds telecommunications spokesperson Andrew Hoggard, because the current service is sporadic.
“Coverage is incredibly patchy. It makes farmers, rural based businesses and the communities they serve feel isolated. The poor service that exists for many rural communities has become expected, but our members are well over it.”
The Rural Broadband Initiative is being built to replace what many rural based people have to rely on – essentially a swiftly aging copper line network that is becoming increasingly expensive to operate.
“If the project is going to be finished and up to a standard people can rely on in four years then amazing. Everyone expects projects to take time. But nothing is ever that simple. The issue is broader than building new towers.”
The $40 million is great, but it can’t stop there.
“We need more reliable land line services. We need mobile coverage that is better than expecting someone to stand on a remote fence post on the farm and internet connections that remain stable throughout the day and night.”
It is important that when completion approaches, the Government runs a review to find any gaps in service delivery and fixes them, says Andrew.
“Rural has had enough of being the afterthought.”
Source: Federated Farmers