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Telecommunications Review says poor mobile voice and broadband services the main concern in regional Australia



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Telecommunications Review says poor mobile voice and broadband services the main concern in regional Australia

May 24, 2012

A review of regional telecommunications services has found poor mobile phone reception is the number one concern for residents in regional Australia, Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Luke Hartsuyker said today.

The tri-annual Regional Telecommunications Review provides a snapshot of services in regional Australia and identifies consumer and business concerns. “What this review confirms is the Gillard Government has got its priorities wrong on regional telecommunications and the Minister is completely out of touch with regional Australia,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The review committee makes it very clear that mobile coverage is the number one concern in regional Australia. The issue was raised during every regional consultation and in two thirds of the submissions received by the review panel. To fully participate in the digital economy, regional communities need access to a range of technologies, including mobile voice and data services. The committee received evidence that there are considerable productivity gains for rural and remote businesses as a result of improved mobile coverage.

“This calls into question the Government’s fixation on spending $50 billion on a National Broadband Network which focuses on installing fibre optic cable to 93% of Australian premises. For a fraction of the cost of the NBN, the Government could deliver high speed broadband to all Australians plus upgraded mobile services. The Government priority should always have been to address the telecommunications blackspots. But instead they are focused on duplicating services in some areas while other communities struggle with poor reception and third world telecommunications connections.

“This Labor Government has failed to invest in improving mobile phone coverage, despite it being such an obvious problem in regional Australia. Only the Coalition understands the challenges of living and working in regional Australia. The Howard Coalition Government set up the $2 billion Communications Fund to ensure that recommendations of the tri-annual Regional Telecommunications Review could be implemented. Labor raided the Communications Fund leaving nothing in the bank to address issues raised by the review. Communities in regional Australia deserve access to reliable, affordable communications services and that is what a Coalition Government will deliver.”

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