National Farmers' Federation

Regional ‘Connectivity Month’ initiative launched to spotlight connectivity options in the bush

Today the Regional Tech Hub, alongside the Minister for Communications, the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP and the National Farmers’ Federation, launched Connectivity Month – a campaign designed to jumpstart awareness of the options available to help people get connected and stay connected to mobile and internet services.

Two-thirds of Australia’s landmass currently has no mobile coverage, despite a third of Australia’s population living outside metro cities. Evolving internet and mobile solutions are helping our regions overcome the digital divide; however, they can be confusing.

Since December 2020, the Regional Tech Hub (RTH) has received close to 100,000 requests for help, including more than 70,000 website enquiries and helping close to 10,000 people with their mobile and internet connectivity options.

Of the queries received, maximising coverage through the nbn Skymuster Satellite service was the most common advice sought, followed by requests for information on mobile broadband, mobile phone, nbn fixed wireless and nbn fixed line.

RTH Manager Jennifer Medway said many queries are from people living with an unreliable service that is too expensive or doesn’t meet data needs. In most cases, there are options available, of which the RTH is looking to raise awareness of during Connectivity Month.

“We know the common pain points and information gaps for people living in rural, regional and remote Australia. Connectivity Month enables the Regional Tech Hub to engage a broader audience and ultimately help more people to find the best solution suited to their needs.”

Activities across the month will shine a light on connectivity gaps in the bush and feature a suite of new resources, debunk old myths, and connect people with personalised connectivity options.

The Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, acknowledged the difference in the connectivity experience of people living in regional Australia, where digital inclusion is considerably lower than the national average.

“Prosperous regional communities are central to the economic success of Australia, and yet there remain significant connectivity gaps in rural and remote areas of the country.

“The Albanese Government is strongly committed to bridging the digital divide. Our Better Connectivity Plan for Rural and Regional Australia funded through the 2022-23 Federal Budget is central to improving the connectivity, coverage and capacity experiences of Australians outside our major cities.

“We’re investing $2.2 billion in regional connectivity, including a $30 million investment to boost on-farm connectivity and $6 million to expand the scope and reach of the Regional Tech Hub to ensure it achieves its potential as the best source of connectivity advice.

“This new investment reinforces our commitment to regional, rural and remote Australia by ensuring essential services are available and affordable.  As a direct point of contact to troubleshoot connectivity issues, the Regional Tech Hub is a key pillar of our plan for digitally connected, productive and thriving regional communities,” said Minister Rowland.

The Regional Tech Hub was established in 2020 and offers free and independent information and advice on digital technologies, services available, equipment solutions, setup and installation.  

It is an Australian Government initiative, managed by the National Farmers’ Federation and in collaboration with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

Connectivity Month will run from 7-30 November 2022 and residents are encouraged to reach out to the Regional Tech Hub to access individualised support.

The RTH can be contacted via www.regionaltechhub.org.au, on 1300 081 029 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

About the Regional Tech Hub

The Regional Tech Hub offers free and independent advice and support to people in rural, regional and remote areas.  navigate often confusing phone and internet options and technical issues. To find out more visit our website – https://regionaltechhub.org.au/