Agribusiness

Mobile blackspots program to boost phone coverage

Grain Central, December 5, 2016

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed an Australian Government commitment to deliver a further 266 base stations under the Mobile Blackspots Program.

“The NFF are supporters of this program given that many of our members continue to endure a lack of mobile network coverage, or no coverage at all. This announcement is a positive step to improve the situation and one that we sincerely welcome,” NFF president, Fiona Simson, said.

“We have joined with other like-minded advocacy groups to end the data drought by forming the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition. This Coalition will champion better communications services for consumers and small businesses living in rural, remote or regional areas. One of the outcomes the group is seeking is long term public funding for open access mobile network expansion in rural and regional Australia.

“The mobile blackspots program represents the type of co-investment model that is needed to further mobile coverage in the bush. We urge the Australian Government and its partners to commit beyond Round Three of the program.

“Our members include some of the most innovative businesses and individuals in Australia. Yet we remain locked out of future economic growth and prosperity through the digital divide which is undermining Australia’s productivity.

“Without leadership and change, Australia risks growing and entrenching the digital divide between urban and rural telecommunications users. We risk undermining the opportunities presented by digital innovation to the farming community and rural Australia as a whole.”

Source: NFF

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