The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review is now completed.
- The report, 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review: A step change in demand is available here.
- The Government's Response to Review is available here.
- The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review found a digital shift has been taking place and is continuing, prompting a step change in demand.
- The Review emphasised the importance of reliable, modern, high-quality telecommunications to regional communities, particularly in light of COVID-19 and the increased data demands of working and studying from home.
- Improving mobile coverage and performance, as well as broadband and enhancing the resilience of telecommunications infrastructure to natural disasters, are key focuses of the report.
- The Government’s comprehensive and substantive response includes $1.3 billion in funding for telecommunications in regional, rural, remote and peri-urban Australia. This consists of:
- Connecting Regional Australia, a $811.8 million initiative to expand mobile coverage, target specific and localised needs, enhance resilience, trial emerging technologies, boost Indigenous connectivity and foster affordability, as well as improve community digital awareness.
- A grant of $480 million is being made towards a $750 million upgrade of the entire NBN fixed wireless network. This will extend the footprint of each NBN fixed wireless tower so that 120,000 additional premises will be able to access NBN fixed wireless premises. All NBN fixed wireless premises in the extended footprint will be able to access higher speeds and NBN Sky Muster satellite users will be able to access additional data. The Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Art’s media release can be found here.
- The response also provides $5 million to expand and continue the Regional Tech Hub to provide better support for regional consumers.
- The response also provide for a range of further policy and regulatory initiatives.
About the Review
The Regional Telecommunications Review is an opportunity for people living and working in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia to share their views and experiences using telecommunications services in their area.
Every three years the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee is appointed to conduct the review. Committee reports are important in setting the regional communications policy agenda in the following years.
The 2021 Committee was announced by the then Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government the Hon Mark Coulton MP on 2 June 2021. The Review was held from June to December. The five members appointed to the Committee were the Hon Luke Hartsuyker (Chair), Ms Kristy Sparrow (Deputy Chair), Ms Sue Middleton, Professor Hugh Bradlow and Mr Michael Cosgrave.
The 2021 Review examined the adequacy of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia. It also considered particular issues identified in the Terms of Reference, including the impact of Government policies and programs, insights from the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging technologies, service reliability, regional development, and improving coordination between tiers of government.
The Committee was established and conducted its review under Part 9B of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.
Information about past reviews can be found at Regional Telecommunications Review.