The Victorian Coalition Government's submission to the Commonwealth Government's regional telecommunications review calls for a national strategy to fix the significant gaps in access to broadband and mobile telecommunications in Victoria's regional and rural areas.
The Regional Telecommunications Review, being undertaken by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, will ultimately advise the Commonwealth Government on the state of regional and rural telecommunications in Australia.
Mr Rich-Phillips said the Commonwealth Government has primary responsibility for ensuring that all Victorians have access to adequate telecommunications services.
"Victoria's rural and regional areas are disproportionately affected by problems including; mobile and broadband coverage blackspots, a lack of telecommunication service competition, and low uptake of services," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"The Victorian Government has concerns the NBN alone does not address all telecommunications services that are critical for regional and rural Victoria, and our submission emphasises the importance of fixing mobile network coverage and quality – something that the NBN policy does not cover.
"The Victorian Government is applying a balanced and practical approach to ensure that Victorian industry and broadband users get the best possible outcome from the NBN, however more can be done to support a competitive regional telecommunications market and an environment in which broadband enables greater business productivity, and more efficient government services," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
The submission recommends the Commonwealth Government:
- develop a high quality broadband rollout strategy;
- improves mobile phone coverage; and
- supports development of the digital economy in rural and regional areas to drive productivity and social improvements.
"Victoria's regions are diverse. They are subject to different drivers for economic growth and have different opportunities for development," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"Population, economic and social trends in Victoria are complex, therefore conditions for supply and demand for telecommunications vary widely.
"Commonwealth policy to improve regional telecommunications needs to recognise these differences and enable appropriately tailored solutions.
"Upgrading telecommunications infrastructure is a vital step to improving telecommunications for households, businesses and communities," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
To view the Victorian Government's submission visit www.rtirc.gov.au/files/2012/01/Victorian-Government-Vic1.pdf