National Farmers' Federation

Broadband for the Bush Moves Forward

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) today welcomed the announcement of the ‘Call for Expressions of Interest’ for the $878 million component of the Australian Government’s $1.1 billion telecommunications ‘Connect Australia’ program.
“This is great news for farmers and rural communities who do not currently enjoy the opportunities provided by quality, affordable broadband internet services,” NFF President, Peter Corish said.
“NFF has lobbied long and hard for timely outcomes from government telecommunications ‘future proofing’ initiatives and we view today’s ‘Call for Expressions of Interest’ (EOI) as the start of the long-awaited process to deliver competitive metro-comparable broadband ‘Outcomes in the Paddock’.
“Access to reliable, affordable telecommunications is essential for farmers to do business and continue to contribute more than 23% of Australia’s exports and support approximately 12% of our GDP and over 1.6 million Australian jobs.
“NFF has played a significant role in delivering the $2 billion ‘future proofing fund’ and the $1.1 billion ‘Connect Australia’ program.
“NFF sought and received written guarantees from the government on a range of telecommunications service adequacy measures including regular reviews, improved network reliability programs and Customer Service Guarantee requirements.
“The telecommunications ‘under-served’ areas of rural and regional Australia are hungry for program outcomes that remove current service inequities for voice and internet services and rely on Australian Government guarantees and a competitive marketplace to deliver ubiquitous quality services using a range of technologies.
“NFF encourages the telecommunications market to take the opportunity to respond to the EOI process and deliver services that will make a difference to farmers and rural communities now and into the future.”
NFF looks forward to other announcements in the near future on a number of other initiatives arising from the 2002 Regional Telecommunications Inquiry.

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