The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review is now completed.

Its report, A step change in demand, is available here.

The 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.

The findings and recommendations fall in four main areas: a more strategic, coordinated approach; more investment in digital infrastructure services and skills; better consumers support and information; and policy and regulatory change.

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 Australian Government released its Plan for Better Connectivity for Rural and Regional Australia during the 2022 Commonwealth election. It is comprehensive and goes to core issues identified by the Review. The Plan is available here.

The response to the Review of the previous Government, tabled on 30 March 2022, is available here for reference.

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.