Monday, 12 August 2019 14:06

Government wants to hear from the regions on digital connectivity plans

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The Federal Government is looking for input from regional and rural Australians on a new program designed to improve digital connectivity for people living in regional areas.

The call for input comes as the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher and the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton, on Monday jointly released a discussion paper on the Regional Connectivity Program.

Minister Fletcher said that for the program to best meet the needs of regional and remote communities it is vital to get the views of regional and rural communities during the design phase – with submissions encouraged from the telecommunications industry, all levels of government and other interested stakeholders, “to help inform the best design for the program”.

“Fast and reliable telecommunications are vital for people living in the bush as they need the connections to go about almost every aspect of their lives,” Minister Coulton said.

The Regional Connectivity Program is an important component of the $220 million Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity package, announced as part of the Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, and including up to $53 million in grant funding.

The rollout of the NBN and the Universal Service Guarantee will provide a base level of telecommunications services across Australia – and with the initial NBN rollout almost complete in regional Australia, the two Ministers say there is a need for the network to be complemented in some areas with bespoke, place-based solutions

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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