NO MATTERwhere I travel, if I ask farmers what they need most to get ahead, better telecommunications is always top of the list.To my mind, there are two elementsclosely linked: funding for better infrastructure, and regulation that drives competition between telecommunications providers.
Already during this electioncampaign, the Coalition andLabor have committed to an extra $60 million for the mobile black spot program. This bipartisan commitment has been welcomed by the farming community – the scheme is an important step to overcome frustrations regarding limited mobile and internet service.
However, current funding commitments fall well short of providing adequate mobile and internet service for all rural customers.The scheme needs to be funded into perpetuity sorural Australians can have certaintytheir issues will eventually be addressed.One way this could be achieved is through the reallocation of $44min annual funding goes to Telstra to maintain payphones. This would ensuregovernment was funding the services of the future.
However, even if the black spot program rolls out across the nation, if there is not improved competition between telecommunications providers, then rural Australians will continue to see poor service, poor pricing, and an entrenched viewrural customers aresecond class citizens.
With this in mind, it is time to re-examine all options for increasing competitive tension in rural NSW. With duplication of infrastructure generally not feasible, any incoming government should reconsider the introduction of mandatory mobile roaming across Australia through the ‘declaration’ of the service under the Competition and Consumer Act. Federal Member for ParkesMark Coulton has publicly backed this; it is timehis Coalition colleagues and those that sit opposite did so as well.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.