The NT Government wants to reduce the Territory’s reliance on satellite for much of its communications.
Almost 30 per cent the NT population is reliant on satellite compared to six per cent nationally and half of those Territorians do not have access to mobile communications.
The NT Government yesterday welcomed a key recommendation from a Joint Standing Committee report into the rollout of the NBN in regional and rural Areas.
Recommendation 15 of the report says:
4.39 The committee recommends that NBN works with the NT Government and Telstra to investigate how existing optic fibre can be used to expand the fixed line and fixed wireless footprint in the NT and other relevant areas.
Every Territorian, no matter where they live, deserves to have access to high quality phone and internet services. It is vital that we use all available infrastructure to get more remote Territorians connected and help support economic development, create jobs, health and education outcomes, the government says.
The NT Government continues to lobby NBN and the Federal Government to reuse existing technology and connect 39 NT communities to the national network via existing optic fibre, rather than the technically inferior satellite solution provided by NBN.
It is positive that this has been recognised as a potential solution to providing more remote Territorians with better quality telecommunications services which are a critical foundation for digital inclusion, enabling residents to achieve and engage with online education, health and financial services, along with the creation of jobs.
In the Territory where so many families live in regional and remote areas, digital access ensures our children are receiving comparable education services with those in urban areas and achieving the digital literacy levels needed for future jobs.
Minister for Corporate and Information Services, Lauren Moss said: “Every Territorian, no matter where they live, deserves to have access to high quality phone and internet services. It is vital we get our communities connected to help support the creation of jobs, and to improve health and education outcomes.
“The Government, in collaboration with Telstra, is investing in the bush through our current $30 million co-investment program and a new $28 million program with Telstra that starts next year. So far we have connected 34 remote Territory communities via broadband or both broadband and mobile services with work underway for another five communities and more sites to come.
“This investment is enabling more remote residents to connect to the world, remote businesses to grow and tourists to share their unique Territory experiences with friends and family.
“It is time the Federal Government stepped up to do more to ensure reliable connections in our remote communities. We have written to the Prime Minister several times, and to relevant Federal Government Ministers to raise concerns about poor telecommunications in regional and remote areas of the Territory.
“This latest Joint Standing Committee report into the roll-out of the NBN recognises what we have been saying all along; that service providers and Governments need to work more closely together to provide reliable connections in our remote communities. We look forward to working with NBN and Telstra to expand both the fixed line and fixed wireless footprint.”
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