Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers

LEGISLATION covering telecommunications in the bush known as the Telecommunications Reform Package passed through parliament on 23 June and included a guarantee for all premises to be able to access broadband services.
Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers Telecoms Reform Package a win for farmers

Kristy Moroney

National Farmers' Federation (NFF) CEO, Tony Mahar said the legislation was a win for the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition and the consumers it represented.

"This is a significant first step to ensuring all premises across the country have access to broadband services, capable of at least 25Mbps per second download and 5Mbps upload speeds," Mr Mahar said.

The NFF CEO said the Coalition was glad to see other improvements to the Bill, which aim to stop the hand-balling of complaints between network and internet providers, to get grievances addressed more quickly.

"The bill also allows regional services to be funded sustainably and transparently into the future with the Regional Broadband Scheme," he said.

"Everybody benefits if all Australians are better connected."

In a big week for telecommunications, the Federal Government also released the Productivity Commission's (PC) report into the nation's Universal Service Obligation (USO) on Monday.

Despite the positives in the Telco Reform Package, the Coalition continues to have concerns over the PC's proposal that the National Broadband Network (NBN) and mobile services should replace fixed-line telephone services.

"We do not agree with the PC's view that mobile coverage outside the home is sufficient for rural areas," Mahar said.

"Many rural and regional consumers rely on these services to stay in touch with family, run businesses and stay connected during emergencies," he said.

"Rural consumers should not have to climb to the top of buildings, walk to the end of their property or purchase elaborate and expensive repeater devices, to ensure they have voice services."

Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said an ongoing commitment was needed to ensure adequate telephone services continued to be available in all premises, regardless of remoteness.

"The removal of the USO cannot be considered until the government can prove that all premises have adequate coverage or alternative reliable telephone services," Ms Corbin said.

There are already a number of telecommunication protections, which are currently under review. 

"The Coalition strongly encourages the government to provide a road map to ensure no-one is left behind by the transformational changes underway," she said.

  • Kondinin Group Research: "This is the best farm-related research around". Read the latest.
  • Research Report: Multispectral Imagery. Exploring imagery options, applications and benefits.
  • For instant access to all Kondinin Group Research Reports, become a member today.